In response to reports that President Donald Trump would break an international climate agreement, more than 2,300 California scientists have signed an open letter to the White House urging the administration to uphold commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
State scientists have guardedly watched news about Trump’s plans for NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency since his election.
Their fast response to remarks made by a former Trump adviser over the weekend reflected their fears that Trump will reverse climate pacts championed by the Obama administration or make their work more difficult by restricting access to climate data that has been publicly available.
The letter is centered on the Paris climate agreement, a 2015 pact ratified by 127 countries that aims to slow global warming. It commits the U.S. to slashing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels over the next eight years.
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“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,” reads the letter, which was drafted by UC Berkeley associate professor of astronomy Aaron Parsons. “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.”
Former Trump adviser Myron Ebell told reporters this week that the president would back out of the climate agreement within days.
“The environmental movement is, in my view, the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world.” Ebell told reporters this week.
Most of the scientists signing the California letter are faculty at University of California campuses, including UC Davis. Scientists from the California State University system and California Community Colleges also are represented.