The Press

Climate scientist warns of ‘frightenin­g’ harm if Trump cuts research funding


UNITED STATES: Budget cuts to key US climate programmes proposed by President Donald Trump are ‘‘frightenin­g’’ for the global science community, threatenin­g to set back recent advances, a leading internatio­nal researcher says.

Valerie Masson-Delmotte, cochair of the Intergover­nmental Panel on Climate Change working group, said the planned cuts were ‘‘a major worry’’ given America’s outsized contributi­on to the global research.

‘‘I cannot hide the huge anxieties about the strength of research capacities in the US in the coming said.

Geoscience­s, including climate research, face cuts of as much as 40 per cent, including the scrapping for four climate-related satellites.

US work includes as much as 30 per cent of ocean climate research, and running core data centres years,’’ MassonDelm­otte used by internatio­nal researcher­s. Such cuts, if applied, would be difficult for others to fill.

Cuts proposed by Australia’s CSIRO in monitoring of the Southern Ocean stirred similar concerns last year before a public outcry prompted the Turnbull government to step in to create a special climate centre with longer-term funding guaranteed.

China has significan­tly increased its ocean monitoring and climate modelling work ‘‘but it is not sufficient to cover what would happen if such a big player as the US would reduce their effort’’, Masson-Delmotte said.

While researcher­s continue to expand knowledge of how the rise in greenhouse gases is causing a build-up in planetary heat, important gaps remain.

Research priorities include increasing observatio­ns in remote regions, such as Antarctica, where melting ice could trigger global sea-level rises of metres over centuries if the giant sheets collapse.

More understand­ing is also needed about feedback processes, which could amplify climate change and trigger abrupt shifts such as in ocean circulatio­n patterns. – Fairfax

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