AAAS Reasserts Climate Evidence, Asks Policymakers to Address Risks

AAAS CEO Rush Holt urged the Trump administration on Tuesday 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 a 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 at the Environmental Protection Agency that seeks 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 Environmental Protection Agency 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.

The order also calls for a review of restrictions on coal leasing on federal lands and on policies that direct federal policymakers to consider the impact of climate change in their decision-making process. Further, the order calls for a review of the measure known as the “social cost of carbon” that factors the cost of increasing greenhouse gas emissions into the consideration of federal regulations.