People around the world to march for climate science

Intro

This Saturday, scientists and their supporters are marching around the world, to defend those who strive to further scientific understanding, in a mass mobilisation that will protest Donald Trump’s attacks on science, attacks that are driven by the pro-fossil fuel advisors influencing his every decision. Defending science is more important now than ever. Experts are publishing a shower of new and alarming papers on climate impacts that must inform our actions, from melting ice-caps and permafrost, to a dying Great Barrier Reef, and the hottest La Niña March on record. It remains to be seen whether Trump’s disdain for science will extend to the Paris Agreement, as his advisors ponder whether to keep the US in, with a weakened international pledge, or out altogether. Either way, the US is clearly failing in any effort on climate leadership, despite the promise of renewable jobs, and the building threats to citizens from climate impacts.

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Take to the streets: Find your nearest March for Science

Key Points

Science” on Saturday in a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s pushback against science in general. Trump’s proposed budget would see many science programmes cut or weakened, alarming scientists. Never has the need for science been so strong as climate impacts build. The Arctic is undergoing a record melt, the world has just experienced the warmest March in a year without the warming effects of El Nino, and a raft of alarming impacts are in the news, such as a whole river changing course in Canada, receding glaciers in Europe, and massive icebergs from Arctic melt appearing along the coast of Newfoundland.

President Trump’s attacks on science are not surprising, given the number of former fossil fuel industry lobbyists he has employed at the White House, and in other key positions, such as Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA and Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.  Special assistant to the President for domestic energy and environmental policy is Mike Catanzaro, who was a lobbyist in fuel standards and greenhouse gas regulations for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. Another investigation shows Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA budget came after he consulted industry. Trump has flagged an opening up of offshore drilling, another plan that is heavily linked to energy lobbyists, and is considering appointing a climate skeptic as head of his Counsel on Environmental Quality.

The pressure is growing on Trump as his team prepares to decide whether or not the US will leave the Paris Agreement amidst divisions within his administration. A whole raft of industry players, from ExxonMobil to Kellogs, are urging him to stay, along with his daughter Ivanka, but EPA head Scott Pruitt wants the US to leave. He could stay in the Paris Agreement, and water down the US pledge, or leave altogether.  If the US leaves, it would be isolated on the global stage, and leave room for countries like China to step in and take a prominent global leadership position. Equally, staying in but weakening the US pledge would harm the US economy, kill jobs, and put lives on the line.

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KEY QUOTES

  • “The reality is that science is already politicized. Decisions about how much of the taxpayers’ money will be spent on science—and how those funds will be allocated across different realms of basic research and applied science—are made in this country in a political process involving the Executive Branch and the Congress, with inputs from a wide variety of interest groups and from the public at large. Scientists, who are better positioned than most to appreciate what is at stake in these political decisions, surely have no less a right and responsibility than any other group to ensure their voices are heard in the political process.” – President Obama’s science advisor John P Holdren
  • “There is nothing subtle about Trump’s antipathy to science. As a candidate, he dismissed decades of established scientific evidence by calling global warming a “hoax” and he has displayed an unprecedented disregard for facts and evidence throughout his brief presidency, even on matters as trivial as the size of the crowd at his inauguration.” – Union of Concerned Scientists’ Kenneth Kimmel
  • “We are ready to continue to provide the leadership on climate change. We are are going to clearly pursue our goals in Europe, but we also want to continue our strong role in helping, especially in the developing world.” – Vice president of the European Commission and the EU chief energy policymaker Maroš Šefčovič

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