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British scientists advise May to welcome disaffected US counterparts

100 scientific researchers based in the UK have released statements urging Theresa May to be cautious of Trump’s administration, which may severely damage scientific research and data records

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Following the recent inauguration of President Donald Trump in the United States of America, Marcia DeLonge at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C. stated that “the USA cannot take a four-year break [from implementing climate change regulations]” after Trump claimed in 2012 that climate change was a “hoax created by China to damage US manufacturing”.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) situated in America has been told to remove its data about climate change from its website by White House Federals and its directors have been told to not talk to the press about any research studies it is currently involved in. This has now put pressure on employees who are working for environmental research in state-funded careers such as NASA, the USDA, and CDC with many wanting to leave their jobs as an outcome.

Prof Piers Forster, a signatory of the letter and director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University, has stated that May could “open up opportunities for UK universities to make some fantastic appointments and we are interested in giving these [US scientists] jobs as we have to readily take up the slack”. Other scientists involved in the letter were Prof Jim Hall, director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, and Prof Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

Peter Frumhoff, a director of Science and Policy in Massachusetts, has pleaded for scientists to “not leave,” because if they do so “we will lose your ability to know what’s going on.” The new President wants to focus more on protecting our air and water, which both are greatly affected by global warming.

Trump has already started conscripting information by freezing any funding that is endorsed to the EPA, with Michelle DePass, a key member of the EPA during Obama’s presidency stating that, “scientific integrity is incredibly important, and keeping that integrity ensures that decisions are made in the right way, detracting from education and transparency and free and open ideas sharing is a very disturbing turn in the way our democracy operates”.

Controlling scientists in federal agencies and leaving them in the hands of political figures can be seriously detrimental to the citizens of America. Constantly ignoring and walking-over serious scientific issues, prioritising harsh immigration laws, and encouraging anti-abortion support can lead to America depleting their sources of food, increasing the risk of disease, and building up carbon dioxide emissions to a level that becomes too toxic to breathe in.

The EPA has a 14-page scientific integrity document which was created by Obama’s administration, giving permission for the EPA to research into new discoveries, file reports, and then submit them to members of Congress for review.

Obama’s administration effectively protected the rights of scientists and their research. However, without this barrier of defence, American Scientists may never have the freedom to disclose any information of their investigations, nor facts and figures which show damage to the USA nature reserves and highly populated cities.

Thousands of Americans are becoming distressed with the topic, exclaiming to the rest of the world that Trump does not share the views that represents majority of the population. The CNN has reported that every 7 in 10 Americans believe in climate change.

Jeremy Symons, who works for climate politics, has stated that Trump’s cabinet sees “an unprecedented amount of influence from the fossil fuel industry” after the Environmental Protection Agency representative Scott Pruitt, who has already accepted just over $250,000 from oil companies to maintain business, believes scientists are still unsure about the extent of climate change.

These claims have been immediately denied by scientists as the EPA and other agencies. This has led to Symons to question, “What’s missing from the cabinet? It is the balance one would expect to bring to the other side of the equation because clearly oil companies are well attended, but who’s looking out for us?”

Theresa May has refused to comment on the whether she has spoken to Trump about the topic in her recent trip to Washington D.C. May stated before she left that, “[She] hopes he recognises the commitment that this Government has shown to this issue of climate change with the legislation that we’ve put through”; referring to the Paris climate change agreement which was signed under Obama’s administration.

Foreign secretary, Boris Johnson has retorted to MP’s that the UK is committed to producing excellent scientific research but must allow Trump to decide the future of his country.

Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director at the London School of Economics, has said: “Scientists believe that the United Kingdom could now have a great opportunity to work alongside the United States in strengthening the evidence base, supporting the development of innovative technologies, and leading international cooperation to manage the risks of climate change.”

UK and US Scientists can only hope that politics does not dignify the potential of research which could derail the future for funding and higher education learning. Groups of scientists have already been in talks about ‘Marches for Science’ in Washington D.C., and across the US, in the wake of Trump’s inauguration, as politicians who have degraded the risks of ignoring scientific research have not reflected the reality in which doing so could be dangerous.

It is hoped marches will also held worldwide, with some set to be organised in both London and Manchester.