100 of the UK's leading scientists have written to Theresa May calling for any weakening in the US stance on climate change to be met with an expansion of research in Britain
A group of leading scientists in the UK have called on the British Prime Minister to urge US President-elect Donald Trump to bring an end to his apparent denial of climate change.
In a letter - signed by 100 of the UK’s leading researchers - the scientists have asked Theresa May to use the UK’s “special relationship” with the US to pressure the Trump administration into accepting the reality of climate change.
The group has called on Mrs May to press the President-elect to continue US support of international actions to counter climate change - including the Paris Agreement - and to maintain funding and support for US research into the area.
Climate change denial
During the US presidential election Mr Trump called climate change a “hoax” and threatened to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Since his election to office, he has appointed a string of climate change deniers to key positions within his administration – including the appointment of renowned climate denier Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil as Secretary of State.
Perhaps most worryingly for many researchers, he has warned that he may strip NASA’s invaluable Earth Science Division of funding as part of a crackdown on “politicised science.”
In the letter, the British researchers said the Trump administration is “disregarding the findings and advice of the leading expert bodies around the world, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United States National Academy of Sciences.”
Expansion of British research
The document calls for any weakening in the fight against climate change in the US to be met with an expansion of research in Britain - possibly by offering research positions to American scientists who find their work shut down under the new administration.
“We believe that the United Kingdom must be prepared to respond decisively to these developments,” reads the letter.
“We stand ready to support and assist our counterparts in the United States, as collaborators, co-authors and colleagues, in resisting any political attempts to prevent, hamper or interfere with vital research on climate change.”
Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University told The Guardian that there are “opportunities for UK universities to make some fantastic appointments.”
“We have to be prepared as a country because things could change quite rapidly,” he said. “If climate scientists in the US start to lose their jobs, we have to be ready to take up the slack.”
In the interests of the United States and of the world
The British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has told MP’s in Westminster that the UK will try to urge Donald Trump to change his stance on climate change.
“I think that president-elect Trump is a deal maker,” said Mr Johnson. “And when it comes to climate change, this is something that the UK has led on globally, we have had outstanding success and, yes - I’m very open with the House - it is a message that we are taking to the administration, we believe it to be important, we believe it be in the interests of the United States and of the world.”
Theresa May is reportedly due to meet with the incoming American President in the Spring.