A new open letter to Donald Trump, from 2,300 professors from California public universities, calls on the President to take climate change more seriously. It asks the new administration to maintain the US commitment to the Paris Agreement reduction of greenhouse emissions, signed by President Obama last year. The president has referred to climate change as a hoax meant to render the US less competitive, and vowed to pull out of the Paris agreement.
The letter, which was published on Tuesday, reads:
“We ask that you ensure America’s place as the global leader on climate action. With this letter, we aim to express the degree to which the scientists and intellectual leaders of our state, speaking for themselves and not on behalf of their respective employers, agree on the facts of climate change. Despite misleading portrayals, there is widespread consensus in the scientific and academic communities that human-caused climate change is real, with consequences that are already being felt. The science of how greenhouse gases trap heat is unimpeachable.”
Environmentalists and other advocates are concerned over Trump’s actions on climate and the environment so far, including the choice of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruit to head the Environmental Protection Agency, who has declined to acknowledge a connection between human activity and climate change. Under the new administration, the EPA has already frozen grant programs and directed employees not to talk to reporters. Trump has also suggested scrapping NASA climate research and rejects the consensus of the vast majority of climate scientists.
The letter makes the argument that a different approach is in the greater interests of the country, saying:
“The United States now has a unique opportunity to lead the world in developing innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By investing in and incentivizing clean energy and carbon sequestration technologies now, we position ourselves to be the economic and political leaders of the 21st century. To do otherwise cedes these opportunities to others and undermines our national security, food security, water security, and the future of our children and grandchildren.”
UC Berkeley astronomy professor Aaron Parsons, who wrote the letter, noted that damage by the Trump administration to climate progress can’t be reversed by a future administration. The letter was first circulated at Berkeley and then at other public universities throughout the state.