One hundred scientists from the United Kingdom have asked their prime minister to press U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to acknowledge climate change and its risks, as well as support international efforts to slow warming around the world.
In a letter to PM Theresa May, the researchers — including many of the country’s most renowned climate scientists — warned that the incoming administration may hamper the world-class climate research now being performed in the United States, which includes data like Earth temperature records that international scientists and policymakers currently use.
Help U.S. Scientists, Support NASA Research
Trump has in the past dubbed global warming a hoax and threatened to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement. He appointed Scott Pruitt, a known climate skeptic, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, while he also installed Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
Last Nov. 22, however, Trump expressed having an open mind on U.S. participation in the landmark climate deal.
"We believe that the United Kingdom must be prepared to respond decisively to these developments,” wrote the scientists in the letter sent on Monday.
They also urged May to press Trump directly and via international platforms like the G-7 and G-20 forums to acknowledge the reality of climate change, as well as restate commitment to the Paris deal. Any opposite action is effectively disregarding the scientific advice of the expert bodies like the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, they added.
They also bannered support for U.S. researchers on the matter, including through the proposed move to offer jobs to disaffected American scientists.
“If climate scientists in the US start to lose their jobs, we have to be ready to take up the slack,” said professor Piers Forster of Leeds University and a signatory of the letter.
In addition, the scientists found it critical to keep NASA’s climate research program findings accessible, where satellite data track Earth and analyze rising sea levels as well as solar activity.
“The program at NASA is very extensive,” said climate change science professor Corinne Le Quere, comparing its scope against those in Europe, the UK and China.
For instance, one special focus of NASA this year is a unique Earth science probe that seeks to study greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space. The mission, which aims to better understand the natural exchanges of carbon between Earth’s land, atmosphere and ocean, has the satellite Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory at its heart.
Act Fast, British PM Urged
The signatories also asked May to “respond decisively” to the situation at hand, saying the UK has a massive opportunity to work with the United States in fortifying proof of climate change and develop new technologies and initiatives on the matter.
Calling Trump a “practical and pragmatic person” who is focused on business opportunities, Le Quere cited plenty of job opportunities when one moves to using clean energy.
The spotlight right now is on Trump appointees, who either reject the idea of man-made climate change or maintain links with the fossil fuel industry, she added in a Radio 4 interview.