PRI: Advocate for Science

The PRI statement on US withdrawal from the Paris Accord (June 2, 2017)

The Paleontological Research Institution expresses its strongest possible disagreement with President Trump’s recent announcement that the United States will withdraw from participation in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. This historic agreement, in which all but two of the world’s countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is a crucial step toward limiting future warming of our planet. We think that the President’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement is profoundly unwise and shortsighted. A U.S. energy policy that does not reduce carbon emissions will ultimately harm people in our country and around the world, hurt the national economy, and diminish the international standing of the U.S.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists accept that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are leading to global-scale warming and related changes to our climate such as more frequent extreme weather events and new precipitation patterns. These climate changes can lead to human suffering through reduced food security, severe storm damage to property, illness and death from intense heat waves, and spread of vector-borne diseases. Climate change also threatens other life on our planet, such as through impacts of ocean acidification and heat stress on coral reefs, and through an increase in extreme weather events. Ecosystem damage by climate change can have devastating effects on people as well, decreasing food supplies, diminishing coastal flood protection, and decreasing availability of new compounds for developing medicines.

The U.S. is a global leader in climate science, and also needs to be a global leader in finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Withdrawing from the Paris accord effectively cedes this leadership to other countries.

We strongly encourage the President to reconsider this decision, and to restore the U.S.’s full participation in this essential international agreement.

Warren D. Allmon
Director, Paleontological Research Institution, and
Hunter R. Rawlings, III Professor of Paleontology,
Dept. of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

The March for Science (April 22, 2017)

On March 22nd, Director Warren Allmon announced PRI’s official intent to participate in the March for Science in Washington, DC.. On April 22nd, many of our staff members went out in the cold and rainy east coast weather to advocate for our mission to increase scientific knowledge, educate society, and encourage wise stewardship of the Earth. Staff members represented PRI at marches in Washington, DC; Buffalo, NY; Ithaca, NY; Athens, OH; and even Hilo, HI. We were proud and excited to see the immense amount of support for science and science education at these marches all over the world!

Every day we, as staff members and as an institution, strive to share our passion for science with the world because science isn’t just for scientists, it’s for everyone!

Why We March:

“I attended the March because I think America needs science and scientific thinking to remain a great nation, and I want to bring attention to this because we can’t take support of science for granted. Basic science, applied science, and science education are all critical to fostering innovation and economic strength, and science is also an essential part of our cultural heritage and identity, together with the humanities and the arts.” — Ingrid Zabel, Climate Change Education Manager
“Science has two goals: 1) to improve human lives and 2) to help us better understand the universe and our place in it. We can all think of ways in which science has benefited someone we love or has filled us with awe and awareness of nature beyond our own individual experiences. I marched because these benefits of science are too often under appreciated. Maintaining America’s future as a global leader in scientific research is dependent upon the public better understanding how tax-payer supported research leads to both discovery and the training of the next generation of scientists.” — Jon Hendricks, Director of Publications
“Science is fundamental to preserving the wonders of our world that make our lives, and those of other living things, robust. Science helps us to understand our relationships with climate, energy, air, water, and soil. The greatest challenges we face in coming decades require that we — society writ large — behave as if we understand these interactions. We are not doing that now. I am striving to change our course.” — Don Duggan-Haas, Director for Teacher Programming

Don Duggan Haas, Director for Teacher Programming, was interviewed by CBS Radio. Check out a clip of his interview here and here.