State Department Science Envoy Explains Why Trump Drove Him to Resign

By Annie Sneed

Energy researcher Daniel Kammen stepped down this week as a science envoy for the U.S. State Department. In a public resignation letter addressed to President Donald Trump, Kammen lambasted the president’s response to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also lamented what he called Trump’s overall “attacks on core values of the United States.” The first letters taken from each paragraph of Kammen’s letter spell the word “IMPEACH.”

Kammen is a professor of energy and director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a member of Scientific American’s board of advisors. He was one of eighteen scientists and engineers who have participated in the envoy program since the Obama administration established it, as part of an effort to develop scientific and technological partnerships with other nations in regions including the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In this position Kammen worked on energy and climate issues in Africa and the Mid-East.

In addition to citing Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacists in Charlottesville, Kammen said he felt the president’s actions and words had damaging consequences for his work as science envoy. “Your decision to abdicate the leadership opportunities and the job creation benefits of the Paris Climate Accord, and to undermine energy and environmental research are not acceptable to me,” Kammen wrote in his resignation letter. “Your actions to date have, sadly, harmed the quality of life in the United States, our standing abroad, and the sustainability of the planet.”

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