Hundreds of members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) signed an open letter criticizing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for calling global warming a “hoax,” and also called on “political leaders” to support an international agreement to fight warming.
The open letter, signed by 375 NAS members, is basically an endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Two of the letter’s signatories, climate scientists Kerry Emanuel and Ben Santer, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that “efforts to reduce the risk to future generations are now being imperiled by a small yet vocal group that denies the validity of the evidence and of scientific expertise in general.”
“Of special and immediate concern is the stated intent of the current Republican Party platform and presidential nominee Donald Trump to promote the extraction and use of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels, to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement and to rescind President Obama’s executive actions designed to reduce climate risk,” they wrote.
Emanuel and Santer, writing on behalf of the 375 NAS members, are referring to a United Nations treaty agreed to at talks in Paris, France in December 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump has promised to “renegotiate” the Paris deal, and may even scrap it altogether as part of his plan to get “better deals” for Americans. Clinton, on the other hand, supports the Paris treaty and has promised to build upon President Barack Obama’s global warming legacy.
In that context, NAS scientists are essentially backing Clinton’s presidential bid.
“We are deeply concerned about the serious long-term damage to our world that would result if the climate and energy policy goals of Trump and the Republican Party were to become our national policies, reversing decades of progress on energy, climate, clean air and clean water,” Emanuel and Santer wrote.
Obama formally made the U.S. party to the Paris treaty in early September while attending his last G20 summit in China. Obama joined the treaty without Senate approval in the hopes of bringing it into force before he leaves office.
Emanuel and the 374 others who signed the letter don’t want to see the U.S. ditch the Paris treaty, arguing it would “undermine the world’s ability to deal with climate change, diminish U.S. credibility internationally, and hobble U.S. economic competitiveness in developing and marketing clean energy sources.”
“We should not turn the clock back by regarding scientific ignorance as a virtue, or by embracing business-as-usual energy policies. It’s time to unleash the renewable and limitless power of the mind, and to accelerate efforts to develop and implement clean energy sources,” Emanuel and Santer wrote.
“This is the leadership we need, and this is the only kind of leadership that will reduce the worst climate change risks to our children while presenting them with new and exciting economic opportunities,” they wrote.
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