SAN FRANCISCO, December 13 – “None of us wants to be here,” Harvard University professor Naomi Oreskes said, describing herself as nervous when speaking before an audience of several hundred at a “Stand Up for Science” protest demonstration.

Stand up for science sign at conference

Oreskes said she was experiencing nervousness well beyond what she has sensed in speaking with much larger audiences. She was among a number of white lab-coat wearing scientists and science activists addressing a protest during, but not specifically as part of, the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union at the nearby Moscone Center.

Fearing looming action by the incoming Trump administration, the speakers expressed a wide range of fears about what some were calling a “war on science.”

In recent weeks, the president-elect has sparked alarm by nominating cabinet members who do not agree with the widespread scientific consensus that humans cause global warming. The Washington Post reported that scientists are copying data to non-government servers out of fear the next administration might scrub it.

The demonstrators at the public protest consisted of Bay-area residents and a number of earth scientists and other scientists participating in the nearby AGU meeting.

Asked if the seeming fear and dread expressed by many climate scientists extends also to other scientific disciplines, Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, pointed to a recent UCS-sponsored open letter to the incoming Trump administration. He said the number of signees from many diverse scientific disciplines shows the broad range of deep concerns across the sciences.

The accompanying photographs were taken preceding and during the noon protest demonstration.

Editor’s Note:  This story was edited on December 15 to correct a mistaken identity.

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Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...