Thought leaders throughout the sciences have come together to take a strong stand against climate change denial, and less directly, against the Republican nominee for president. On Sept. 20, 375 scientists wrote an open letter on climate change, and they definitely called out Donald Trump in a subtle yet really big way.
First, they started out by unequivocally stating that humans are the ones who have been behind the recent, noticeable changes to Earth's climate. "Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality," the assembled mass of thinkers wrote in their open letter. "Our fingerprints on the climate system are visible everywhere," they continued.
Then, they made the first explicit mention of the presidential campaign. "During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality." While it hasn't really been a secret for the past few election cycles that the GOP has been skeptical of the science behind climate change and humans' involvement in it, this year, the party's frontrunner has been noticeably oblivious to the problems already affecting Americans that are caused by climate change.
While some pundits and politicians have argued that in order for humans to tackle climate change effectively, we need to be absolutely certain as to the exact effect that humans are having on the planet before we act, these scientists had no qualms about calling that argument out for what it is. "Others argued that no action is warranted until we have absolute certainty about human impacts on climate. Absolute certainty is unattainable."
But then, things got a bit more serious. Alluding to Trump, they condemned the opinion that the U.S. should get out of their obligations detailed in the groundbreaking Paris Accord. "Thus it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. A 'Parexit' would send a clear signal to the rest of the world: 'The United States does not care about the global problem of human-caused climate change. You are on your own.'" Not the kind of tenor that the leader of one of the major world powers should be taking, that's for sure. The scientists continued, writing:
The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.
Ending with a strong call to action directed toward their fellow citizens, they mention that the international credibility of the U.S. is on the line, to say nothing of the health of the planet and the welfare of the people on it. American voters should take the time to read through the letter in full, and really consider what kind of future we are up against if Trump gains control of the White House.