Outrage as Trump moves to scrap NASA climate change research

2016-11-28 13:46 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
Post a comment 0

Cape Town -  The United State's president-elect Donald Trump is insisting that climate change is a man-made illusion, and his office has announced plans to entirely eliminate all climate research at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for NASA to do what he has previously described as "politically correct environmental monitoring."

Walker told The Guardian that the new presidential administration would cut earth science research at NASA and suggested that the agency would lose the more than 40% of its funding dedicated to understanding our own planet. The attention of the funding would instead be turned toward exploration and deep space research.

"We see NASA in an exploration role, in deep space research," Walker said. "Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission."

The announcement has caused a massive upheaval among scientists worldwide, who took to Twitter to discuss the 'shockingly stupid' move by the president-elect.  

Scientists used the hashtag #ThanksNASA to highlight the incredible work the earth scienc research has enabled over the past years. 

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also told the Sydney Morning Herald that slashing the NASA program "would be a shockingly stupid move that would deal a very severe blow to global research on environmental change across the world."

"Stopping all funding would, for instance, mean abandoning satellites that monitor the Earth's surface," Ward said, "and would be an enormous waste of billions of dollars of scientific research."

Trump had previously called global warming a "hoax" perpetrated by China, and threatened to "cancel" the hard-fought Paris Agreement concluded a year ago.

WATCH: Trump and the 'climate change hoax'

Despite the outrage, Scientific American reports that the call to stop the  programme, which was greatly supported by and expanded under President Barack Obama, is likely to be passed. 

NASA launched its Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS, project in 2002. It was designed to gauge global temperatures, greenhouse gases and cloud cover.

The earth science programme is an indispensable source of data for researchers who study our planet's melting ice sheets and the changing climate.

What to read next on Traveller24

WATCH: Trump and the 'climate change hoax'

WATCH: Solar Impulse back in Switzerland, continues clean energy legacy

Climate change, tourism surge: 10 Tourist attractions on the brink of extinction