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Come on Trump, time to get on the right side of science

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I shouldn’t have been surprised but I read with utter dismay coverage of President Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This statement horrified me –

“To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”

Hearteningly, President Trump’s comments are at odds with the vast majority of US and world scientists.

The scientific press is full of articles and papers warning of the potentially catastrophic effects of unchecked anthropogenic global warming activities. For example, The American Institute of Biological Sciences recently published the following in the report – World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency.

“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

President Trump also announced on June 1, 2017 that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. However it is interesting to note that US big business says differently. I spot checked some major US players and found the following;

Chevron – 2018 corporate responsibility report highlights

“We’re seeking ways to reduce emissions while improving our operations. In 2018, our Board of Directors established greenhouse gas emissions performance measures, targeting a 20 to 25 percent

reduction in methane emissions intensity and a 25 to 30 percent

reduction in flaring intensity by 2023, in line with the first “stock-take” under the Paris Agreement.”

Ford – Our future is in motion

“That’s why we are transforming our culture and innovating right across the business, from the production line to the design studio. We are working to reduce the CO2 emissions from our facilities and our vehicles, in line with the climate targets outlined in the Paris Climate Accord.”

General Electric – Climate Change Statement

“We believe that GE is uniquely positioned to contribute to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the company that has led the way

in innovation for over a century, GE can deliver technology for the world to meet the emissions reduction targets called for by the 2015 Paris

Agreement and achieve the long-term goal of sustainable development.”

Exxon Mobil – Engaging on climate policy

“There are few challenges more important than meeting the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing environmental impacts and the risks of climate change. ExxonMobil supports the 2015 Paris Agreement and believes the company has a constructive role to play in developing solutions.”

Many US public organisations have also ignored President Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal.

The Climate Mayors Steering Committee to Strengthen Climate Action state –

“Climate Mayors, the network of 438 U.S. mayors across the country committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement, announced the launch of a new Steering Committee, led by twenty-four mayors who will serve as critical voices within the network and across the country to spotlight climate leadership exhibited in cities throughout the United States.”

The US We Are Still In grouping declares –

“Spanning red and blue regions across 50 states, its signatories demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement and America’s contribution to it. To date, ‘We Are Still In’ is the largest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action.”

President Trump has also turned his back on the United Nation’s Sustainability Goals. Particularly Goal 13, Climate Action where it is stated –

“As of April 2018, 175 parties had ratified the Paris Agreement and 168 parties had communicated their first nationally determined contributions to the UN framework convention on Climate Change Secretariat.”

It is clear that there are a huge number of evidence based ‘prophets of doom’ who disagree with Mr Trump.

Is a denial of the Climate Emergency an impeachable offence?

Tom Baxter is visiting professor of chemical engineering at Strathclyde University and a retired technical director at Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants

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