Augusta Wilson, State of the Planet Earth Institute/Columbia University, July 30, 2020
The phrase “every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored” resonates more than ever as two disasters unfold: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. One is occurring with horrifying rapidity and one more slowly; both would be far less damaging if scientific advice were heeded earlier.
In the United States, the Trump administration has responded to the COVID-19 crisis using tactics it honed in the climate arena: ignoring or burying relevant scientific information, pushing misinformation, and silencing scientists who warn us of the dangers. This pervasive “see no evil, hear no evil” approach has handicapped the U.S.’s ability to respond to both of these unfolding crises.