Exodus of Climate Scientists to France only the Beginning if GOP Guts Grad Education

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

French President Emmanuel Macron has a program he calls MAPA – “Making the Planet Great Again.” His government is offering funding to climate scientists who are facing obstacles in their home countries, to come and work in France. He just managed to lure away 18 high-powered scientists, one of whom shared a Nobel Prize and 12 of whom are Americans.

France is after all a very pleasant place to live and work, with state of the art labs and equipment for scientists. Macron’s is the first French government to take the challenge of climate change seriously and to pursue renewable energy (French energy policy was earlier tied to nuclear reactors, but these have been an environmental disaster).

France has a Ministry of Ecology, nowadays headed by environmental activist Nicolas Hulot. France has received permission from the European Union to install 17 gigawatts of renewable energy.

Trump’s anti-environment secretary of the Environment, Scott Pruitt, has muzzled climate scientists and the Trump regime has taken down huge numbers of government web sites and data bases on climate change.

What Macron is pointing out is that high-powered scientists with a Ph.D. don’t have to go through life being humiliated by lying non-entities such as Pruitt, a creature of the Oklahoma oil and gas industry. People willing to harm their grandchildren for a quick buck today aren’t even human, just empty, demonic shells walking around as simulacra.

Not satisfied to destroy America’s lead on solar and wind energy technology, the Republican Party now has a plot, inspired by Wall Street Journal purveyor of untruths Stephen Moore, to cripple graduate education by slapping a tax on tuition forgiveness.

The result will be a vast exodus of bright, inventive, entrepreneurial Americans to Europe and Asia, where they will give those economies the extra boost of innovation. The United States in the meantime will sink into poverty, a stagnant economy, and crime.

The US has all along had a streak of anti-intellectualism and suspicion of high powered science. Now the worst elements in the GOP plan to put it all into law and drag the country down to their level.

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Related video:

Newsy: “France awards grants to US climate scientists”

7 Responses

  1. For many decades the United States served as a magnet for scientists from all over the world who came to America to find a place for free research and scientific innovation. That process enriched America and included individuals such as Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian father, who founded Apple. There have also been scores of Iranian born or Iranian-American scientists who have achieved fame in the United States. They include the late Ali Javan, physicists and a co-inventor of gas laser in 1960; Firouz Naderi, who spent more than 30 years in technical and managerial positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Pardis Sabeti, computational biologist and medical and evolutionary geneticist, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University; Maryam Mirzakhani who received the Fields Medal, the most prestigious medal in mathematics and who served as professor of mathematics at Stanford University before her untimely death; Anousheh Ansari, engineer and astronaut and co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc. (TTI); Nima Arkani-Hamed, theoretical physicist with interests in high-energy physics and string theory, and a former professor at Harvard and now teaching at Princeton; Vahid Tarokh, the inventor of space-time codes and professor of applied mathematics at Harvard University, etc.

    Sadly, as the result of Trump’s travel bans and growing unscientific outlook that process will be seriously curtailed and there will be a reverse brain drain from the United States to other freer countries. However, US’s loss will be to the benefit of the countries that welcome those scientists.

  2. France is an ideal place for a centre of climate research. There are countless universities to hand with centuries of mutual cooperation. Furthermore, France is not at war with anyone. France can readily welcome scientists from all over regardless of their religion or the colour of their skin. The implication that the US will be losing out suggests a competitive view of the issue which must be counter productive. It’s the same with solar panels which logically should be sourced from wherever they are most economically available. I have no quarrel with the ‘America first’ mindset but it’s no way to tackle global issues like climate change.

  3. Thinking in terms of a second enlightenment is a little over the top, or maybe not….

    France should perhaps extend this idea to scholarship more broadly. It would certainly be consistent with their cultural tradition, and the leverage point of brains, when it comes to progress (or just maintaining what we have) is relatively very, very low.

    The way that endowed chairs now attract top people can be developed and extended, if it has not already. There are plenty of enlightened organizations and individuals who could easily give the needed level of support.

    I am curious about Trump funding of DARPA, which has funded a great deal of basic research historically, including in the social sciences.

    There is no better investment. And the government doesn’t necessarily even need to be involved, unless it comes to labs and larger scale physical implementation.

  4. The US educational system contrasts with the that in the rest of the world in several important respects.

    1) It’s slow. Elsewhere, specialization begins early — right out of high school, even before. Americans go through broad undergraduate programs with all kinds of exposure across the disciplines, and with many possibilities for relatively late commitment to specialty.

    2) The end result is that a lot of organized education takes place in graduate school.

    3) Researchers in the US are for the most part located in universities rather than in educationally-isolated outside research centers, as elsewhere.

    The consequence is that the US generally has the best, most active graduate programs in the world. Ambitious international students flock to them, indeed in some fields constitute their core population. The effect of this dynamism on the US and the world has been gigantic.

    It’s easy to see in this outline a number of features that the rightwardly inclined do not like. Destroying the system of graduate programs in the US will put the final touches on the project of collapsing the educational system, which has already achieved the near defunding of the state universities, catastrophic for social mobility. It’s a sure bet that the overall outcome will be, to put it euphemistically, transformative.

  5. This primitive Stone Age mentality that Trump has brought into the White House is Trump’s way of putting an end to everything Obama’s. The Trumpster claims Obama led from behind, but when it comes to anything like ‘Climate Change’ Trump feels perfectly find, with America coming in dead last. To the Trump mindset this makes plenty of sense, but to a dying planet Trump’s ideology is a failure in human evolution.

  6. Ignorance, disdain for education and disbelief in science are no longer aberrations in the Republican Party. Those are all now features of the Republican Party.

  7. Economic foot shooting.

    The most vibrant economies on earth are driven by education and research, yet the extremely wealthy that rule the GOP, do not understand that their wealth is dependent on the very education and research they disdain.

    As the USA destroys its education system, the USA will quickly become an economically backwater nation. and the rich white folks will discover that the non-white people that will be generating the future wealth will NOT share it with the USA 1%.

    Basically the rich white 1% of the USA are destroying their own future and wealth and transferring the wealth to Asia and Europe.

    Basic greed and self-centered behavior coupled with deem ignorance leading to massive foot shooting.

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