He’s called climate change a Chinese-driven hoax and “just a very, very expensive form of tax.”
Whether it confuses you, delights you, or terrifies you, there’s no denying that Donald Trump has positioned himself as the Republican front-runner, and he may very well go on to be the party’s nominee.
Trump has shocked the world with his plans to ban all muslims from entering the United States as well as his proposal for the “Trump Wall” between the US and Mexico, but has there been any mention of science policy change?
“It’s been conspicuous by its absence,” Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Live Science.
Although Trump’s mention of science hasn’t been as blatant as his stance on other issues, he’s made some remarks that indicate what his scientific policies might be. This is what it could mean for America’s future if Trump is elected president:
Notorious on Twitter, Trump has tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Though he later claimed that the tweet was a joke, in an interview with Fox and Friends, he said climate change is “just a very, very expensive form of tax” and “very hard on business.”
“There’s been a misperception that either you get a good economy or you protect the environment,” Peter LaPuma, an associate professor in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, told Live Science.
In fact, LaPuma says that IT companies like Apple have begun using renewable energy to power their data centers, which actually ends up saving a lot of money since the cost of energy sources like solar energy has dropped.
The Environmental Protection Agency
If Trump is elected president, he said he will cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and give back the environmental protection responsibilities to the states. Just like his view on climate change, he says that the EPA hurts business.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump called the EPA “the laughingstock of the world.”
The EPA plays a crucial role in protecting clean air and drinking water, according to professor Neal F. Lane of Rice University, who directed the National Science Foundation as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
He says “there would be serious repercussions” by 2020 if the EPA was downsized or abolished, and that the agency is “not just a bunch of regulators hugging trees.”
Lane told Live Science that if Congress were to support Trump in cutting funds for the EPA, he predicts that there would be backlash from governors and “reasonable people who care about their families, their children and their lifestyle.”
Although Trump says he favors vaccinations, he has also blamed vaccines for causing autism in children — a claim the scientific community strongly disputes. Trump says he would change the vaccination schedule, however, and give children smaller doses over a longer period of time.
Hotez, who develops vaccinations and also has a daughter with autism, says he wanted to throw something at the TV when he heard Trump’s stance on vaccinations. Changing the FDA’s approved vaccination schedule without clinical testing could negatively impact a child’s immune response and decrease the efficacy of vaccines, Hotez says.
If elected, Trump plans to defund Planned Parenthood clinics because of their abortion services, despite the fact that he says the organization does a lot of good for women’s health.
Ironically, Leighton Ku, the Director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, says that decreasing access to Planned Parenthood’s contraception services could potentially cause a spike in abortions due to an increase in unwanted pregnancies.
The Affordable Care Act
Trump says he plans to abolish and replace the Affordable Care Act with his own healthcare plan if he’s elected president.
His plan involves making health insurance tax deductible and removing barriers to prescription drugs entering from outside the country, which he promises will lower American healthcare costs.
However, Ku says that the number of Americans without health insurance is at an all-time-low in recent recorded history, and that repealing the Affordable Care Act could leave 13 million people without coverage.
Further, Ku says that pharmaceutical manufacturers outside of the US would likely raise prices if imports became more common, and that restrictions on imports from certain countries, like China, should continue due to issues with counterfeited pharmaceuticals.
So, it’s safe to say that the science seems a little shaky when it comes to Trump’s plans for the future, which is something voters should certainly keep in mind when making their decision.
h/t: Live Science