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Professor resigns from science post in Trump administration

Trump rallies base in Arizona

President Trump made his case to his base during a rally in Phoenix, AZ on August 22. He talked about immigration, border control, and attacked the media to an enthusiastic crowd.
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President Trump made his case to his base during a rally in Phoenix, AZ on August 22. He talked about immigration, border control, and attacked the media to an enthusiastic crowd.

A prominent University of California, Berkeley energy professor resigned his post with the U.S. State Department on Wednesday in response to President Donald Trump’s “attacks on the core values” of the country.

“Your actions to date have, sadly, harmed the quality of life in the United States, our standing abroad, and the sustainability of the planet,” wrote Professor Daniel Kammen in his resignation letter to Trump on Wednesday.

Kammen said he’s served various roles for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, energy and state departments since 1996. He’s stepping down as a science envoy to the Americas, a position he accepted in 2010 under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a curriculum vitae posted on a UC Berkeley website.

In his resignation letter, Kammen said the president’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement and undermine energy and environmental research was unacceptable.

Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis after the Charlottesville attack is consistent with “a broader pattern that enables sexism and racism, and disregards the welfare of young Americans, the global community and the planet,” he said.

Kammen is in early talks with Gov. Jerry Brown about developing a major climate change research institute funded by revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program, as reported by the science journal Nature. Kammen told Nature the goal of the program is to “develop the research we need, and then put climate solutions into practice.”

Brown and other state leaders recognize the potential global impact of the program in light of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, Kammen told the magazine.

“The term we often use is ‘rule from below,’” he said in the article.

As a science envoy, Kammen focused on building capacity for renewable energies, according to a state department website. The science envoy program draws on scientists and engineers to leverage their expertise and networks to build connections and identify opportunities for international cooperation. The state department says 18 envoys, described as “world-renowned scientific experts” in their fields, have traveled to 41 countries since 2010.

Kammen is the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, chair of the Energy Resources Group and a professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, according to the university.

The professor’s resignation is another example of fallout from Trump’s messaging about the violent rallies in Virginia. After the rally several chief executives of major US companies dropped out of his manufacturing council, which prompted the president to dismantle the group altogether.

Police in Arizona used what appears to be smoke bombs and fireworks to disperse crowds of protesters outside of President Trump’s rally in downtown Phoenix.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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