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Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi: How far-right governments have suppressed environmental research

Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi: How far-right governments have suppressed environmental research

AEF Info | Anne Roy | June 28, 2024

“Sometimes instead of talking about climate change, researchers have had to use the term extreme weather conditions, to avoid drawing negative attention to their projects,” confirms Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the Climate science legal defense fund , a nonprofit organization established in 2011 to provide legal assistance to researchers and institutions engaged in climate science who face legal difficulties caused by private entities…


For Lauren Kurtz, these attacks have had an effect on the quality of the science produced – for example, according to her, many works have remained unpublished or even unfinished – but also on the resignations and evictions of scientists. “The Biden administration is trying to hire scientists but it takes a long time to get back to the previous level, especially since some of those who left had a decade of experience behind them,” she explains. And to the question of whether researchers in environmental sciences are more exposed than their peers in other disciplines, Lauren Kurtz answers yes without hesitation. “For two reasons: on the one hand because they disturb powerful economic interests, on the other hand because they represent a lesser interest for the universities which defend them with less ardor than they would defend, for example, a researcher who would work on a new drug protected by a very lucrative patent,” she explains.

For worried scientists, whether in the United States, where Donald Trump could return to power following the presidential election next November, or in France, Lauren Kurtz gives the following advice: “Be prepared, know your rights, what you can and cannot publish, for example. Take lots of notes, make sure you have your own files so that a possible challenge later is more difficult.” In the United States, “the current objective of the Biden administration is to improve federal protections, for example by strengthening guidelines to protect scientists from political interference,” she says.

Read the full story at AEF Info.

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