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