Science organizations spoke out forcefully Tuesday in response to President Trump's executive order to unravel Obama administration climate policies.
The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, a federal rule that set targets for carbon emissions targets.
"The EPA has a legal obligation under the Clean Air Act to curtail global warming emissions to help limit the impacts of climate change," said Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmell. "The Clean Power Plan cost-effectively addresses one of the nation’s largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions -- power plants -- and gives states the flexibility to tailor the plan to their needs. The executive order undercuts a key part of the nation’s response to climate change, without offering even a hint of what will replace it."
The executive order also orders the Interior Department to end a moratorium on new coal mine leases on federal land and nixes guidance requiring that climate change be considered in planning infrastructure projects, among other concessions to industry.
Scientists have been increasingly vocal since Election Day about Trump's personnel choices and policy steps involving research, health and the environment. Tuesday's executive order was his clearest step yet on environmental policy.
Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the scientific research is clear that climate change is happening as a result of human activities and affecting people and the environment.
"Scientific research helps us better understand climate change and society’s potential responses, including decisions by individuals, communities, businesses and federal agencies," he said. "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 also offered to have scientists meet with policy makers to discuss the science of climate change and the degrees of understanding about the research.
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