By Glynn Wilson –
Just as the Trump administration moves to roll back environmental protection regulations and withdraw the United States from the growing world community of countries joining the major battle against climate change due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, the American Association for the Advancement Science has issued a statment reasserting the evidence about climate change and asking policy makers in Washington, including the White House, to address the facts and the risks.
The organization’s CEO, Rush Holt, announced the statement on Tuesday, urged the Trump administration to work with the scientific community to reduce the risk climate change poses to human health and the environment, reiterating that climate change is real and its impacts are already evident.
“The scientific evidence is clear: climate change is happening – primarily due to human activities – and already impacting people and our environment,” Holt said in the statement. “Scientific research helps us better understand climate change and society’s potential responses, including decisions by individuals, communities, businesses and federal agencies.”
Holt issued the statement after President Trump signed a sweeping executive order aimed at reducing the power of the Environmental Protection Agency by seeking to roll back federal regulations and programs intended to lower the nation’s carbon emissions, to combat what scientists have found to be a major contributor to global warming.
“There is much our nation can do to address the risks that climate change poses to human health and safety, but disregarding scientific evidence puts our communities in danger,” Holt said. “We encourage the White House and Congress to support the evidence on climate change, and welcome opportunities to bring scientists to meet with policymakers to discuss the state of the science, the degree of scientific understanding on climate change and other areas of concern and interest.”
The executive order directs the EPA to review the Obama administration’s initiative known as the Clean Power Plan that called for limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants. The regulation is already tied up in federal court after industry groups and states challenged it.
Undoing the regulation will require additional procedures to be followed and may entail a long, drawn out process to reverse years of work to address problems caused by fossil fuel emissions on the environment and human health.
The order also calls for a review of restrictions on coal leasing on federal lands in the interest of allowing more economic development on public lands, and seeks to reverse Obama administration policies that directed policymakers to consider the impact of climate change in their decision-making process.
Further, in the attempt to allow polluting industries to get away with more coal mining and oil and gas drilling without economic consequences, the order calls for a review of the measure known as the “social cost of carbon.” The U.S. and other countries had just begun to deal with factoring in the cost of greenhouse gas emissions on federal policy. Trump’s order seeks to roll back progress on that front, a move that could have devastating consequences both for the health of the planet and the reputation of the U.S. as a world leader in science and environmental policy.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.