UC Riverside Professors Sign Letter Asking for Sustained Action on Climate Change

More than 115 UC Riverside professors have signed the open letter addressed to the Trump administration

This visualization illustrates Earth’s long-term warming trend, showing temperature changes from 1880 to 2015 as a rolling five-year average.

2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend — 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001. Credits: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — More than 2,300 faculty from California universities, including more than 115 from the University of California, Riverside, have signed an open letter to the Trump administration calling for sustained action on climate change.

They also urged the president to honor the country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as set forth in the Paris climate agreement that former President Barack Obama signed last year.

George Becker, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside, is among the UC Riverside professors who have signed the letter. He also spearheaded an effort to get other faculty at UC Riverside to sign the letter.

“Global climate change is one of the most critical challenges facing our society,” Becker said. “There is a clear consensus in the scientific community that climate change is real, and that the cost of not acting will be to damage the lives of people in the U.S. and worldwide for generations to come. It’s true that other threats may be more immediate or more visible in our day-to-day lives, but climate change deserves our full attention.”

He continued: “As a scientist I am alarmed by the threat of climate change, but I also see the opportunities before us. The U.S. can develop clean energy in ways that will benefit both our economy and the environment. The fight against climate change must be worldwide effort, and the U.S. should stand firm as a global leader and partner.

The open letter was first drafted by Aaron Parsons, an associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. He found that it resonated among UC Berkeley faculty in all fields and he eventually sent it to colleagues outside the campus. He has gotten signatures from all University of California campuses, and some California State University schools.

The letter argues that the majority of scientists accept the fact that “continuing to produce greenhouse gases at current rates will have catastrophic, unstoppable consequences for our environment, our economy and our country. Bold and decisive action may still avoid the worst scenarios, allow for adaptation to the changes, mitigate the damage and bring new economic opportunities to our country. To this end, we ask that you ensure America’s place as the global leader on climate action.”

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