Trump set to begin dismantling climate research

dismantling climate research
Global average temperature anomalies (1961–1990 reference period) for the three major datasets used in the WMO’s State of the Global Climate statement. The grey shading indicates the uncertainty in the HadCRU dataset. (Source: UK Met Office Hadley Centre)

The year 2016 was a tumultuous year on several fronts.

The political world was shocked by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president.

And on the environment front, the world continued its headlong sprint into catastrophic climate change.

In its State of the Global Climate statement, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) suggested that global warming was accelerating, with 2016 making history with record high global atmospheric and ocean temperatures.

2016 was also marked by exceptionally low sea ice, the unabated rise in sea levels, and continued extreme weather and climate conditions.

Warmest on record

“This report confirms that the year 2016 was the warmest on record – a remarkable 1.1°C above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.06°C above the previous record set in 2015,” said WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas.

“This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system. Globally-averaged sea-surface temperatures were also the warmest on record, global sea levels continued to rise, and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year,” he said.

And Taalas was in no doubt that these rising temperatures are a direct consequence of man’s ongoing greenhouse-gas climate experiment.

“With levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistently breaking new records, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident.”

Computer models

The WMO is a UN agency that predates the UN itself. Created as the International Meteorological Organization in 1873 as a weather monitoring exchange. Today it uses the latest technology and computer models to authoritatively assess the state of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This includes its interaction with the land and oceans, the resulting weather patterns and water distribution. With large parts of Africa and Asia experiencing prolonged, chronic droughts, the agency’s work is timely and important.

Dismantling climate research

Not least because US president Donald Trump doesn’t want science and research to impinge on his alternate reality. The Trump administration is soon to announce the dismantling of Barack Obama’s “stupid” climate change initiatives and policies to curb global warming.

Though the date and form of any announcement is yet to be finalised, such a move is consistent with his plan to terminate all climate change research and prevention programmes, as outlined in his proposed anti-Earth-science budget on 16 March.

So, in addition to his plans to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by a third, Trump also wants to end Nasa’s inconvenient Pace, OCO-3, dscovr, and CLARREO Pathfinder missions.

We can only hope that Trump’s known disdain for international agreements generally, and the UN in particular, doesn’t end up hampering the WMO’s vital work.

 

 

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peterbatt

Peter a journalist with 30 years experience of freelance writing, UK national newspaper and magazine production roles, and business development. In 2007, he developed and launched a mainstream-style green consumer magazine in the UK, called GreenerLiving, as a means of promoting sustainable change ‘within the system’. GreenerLiving closed during the post-crash recession, but Peter went on to become managing editor of the international ethical business title, Ethical Performance. However, Peter felt that the CSR sector has not succeeded in changing corporate priorities anywhere near fast enough, and so I decided to leave the treadmill of corporate employment and debt accumulation to focus on my own projects. Now poorer but a billion million times happier, he writes on political, economic and social issues – usually seriously, but sometimes as satire. He's currently writing Psychopath Economics, a book about the logic of social and economic power, belief systems, and the rise and fall of societies. Peter is convinced that ordinary people must educate themselves and exercise their economic leverage if we are to avoid social and environmental destruction.

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