Monday 16 January 2017

Leading Scientists Urges On Theresa May To Working With Climate Change With Donald Trump

Climate Change

Leading scientists have asked the prime minister to urge president-elect Donald Trump to acknowledge the risks of climate change and declare his support for international efforts to combat global warming.

<>One hundred researchers, including many of the most prominent climate scientists in Britain, have written to Theresa May to warn her of the potential threats posed by Donald Trump, who has made clear he does not accept the scientific consensus on warming driven by human activities.

The letter warns that Trump’s administration may severely weaken climate change research and the collection of data such as Earth temperature records, which are used by scientists and policymakers in the UK and around the world. If the world class climate science now performed in the US is wound down under Trump, the UK must be ready to respond decisively, the letter states. One response would be to rapidly expand British climate science by offering jobs to disaffected US researchers.

Trump has called global warming a hoax and may scrap Nasa’s invaluable climate research program. He threatened to withdraw from the Paris agreement, which aims to avoid the most dire consequences of climate change, though recently he said he had an open mind on US involvement in the plan. He appointed Scott Pruitt, a climate sceptic, to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, to be secretary of state.

“We don’t know how bad it will be, and it seems that Trump has slightly gone back on some of the rhetoric, but there are still worrying concerns,” said Prof Piers Forster, a signatory of the letter and director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University. “What concerns me is that if we don’t have good scientific data and observations coming from America, we’ll be flying blind.”

The letter urges the PM to press Donald Trump directly and through international forums such as the G7 and G20 to accept the reality of climate change and restate a commitment to the Paris agreement. In rejecting the scientific evidence around climate change, Trump is disregarding the findings and advice from expert bodies around the world, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the letter states. It adds that the UK science community stands ready to back US researchers in “resisting any political attempts to prevent, hamper, or interfere with vital research on climate change.”

The scientists behind the letter, which was sent on Friday, want any weakening in US climate change to be met by an expansion of research in Britain. That could see the UK substantially bolster its expertise in the area by offering jobs to top US researchers whose work is shut down, or who simply become disillusioned under the Trump administration.

“There are opportunities for UK universities to make some fantastic appointments. I’m the director of a brand new institute and we are interested in giving these people jobs,” Forster said. Other signatories to the letter include Prof Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Prof Jim Hall, director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University.

“We have to be prepared as a country because things could change quite rapidly,” Forster said. “If climate scientists in the US start to lose their jobs, we have to be ready to take up the slack.”

The last Republican president, George W Bush, was roundly criticised by climate scientists for interfering with research and public messages around global warming research. During his administration, a report from the EPA was edited by White House officials to reduce a long section on the risks of rising temperatures to a handful of vague paragraphs. In one email exchange that came to light, White House officials sought help from the conservative lobby group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which received more than $1m (£820,000) in donations from Exxon, to play down a report in which the US admitted for the first time that humans contributed to global warming.

Within days of President Bush’s inauguration, Randy Randol, an ExxonMobil lobbyist, sent a memo to the White House asking if Bob Watson, the former head of the World Bank’s environment department and then-chair of the IPCC, could be replaced at the request of the US. Watson, who was knighted in 2012 and had long warned about the impact of burning fossil fuels and the need to change to prevent environmental harm, was duly unseated and replaced.

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has told MPs that the UK will stress the importance of climate change to the Americans, but there is an acceptance among ministers that US climate policy is a matter for the US to decide.

A government spokesperson said the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change was “as strong as ever and we are clear that there will be no attempts to go back on what was agreed during negotiations in Paris and Marrakesh.” Theresa May closed the government’s dedicated climate change department last year. Work in the area now falls to the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

“We know the UK and US face very similar energy challenges. We’ve had great experience working together on all kinds of energy and climate change issues and look forward to this collaboration continuing,” the spokesperson added.



Etiam at libero iaculis, mollis justo non, blandit augue. Vestibulum sit amet sodales est, a lacinia ex. Suspendisse vel enim sagittis, volutpat sem eget, condimentum sem.