16 October 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
The interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, 14 October, included several questions related to climate change, reflecting the fact that this is an issue of vital importance to the nation. You raised several points in your replies that provide an opportunity for input from the scientific and science policy communities.
There is an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that shows that the warming global climate we have been experiencing in recent decades is primarily caused by human activity and that current long-term warming trends cannot be expected to reverse if no action is taken. These conclusions come from multiple independent lines of evidence. As is standard for the scientific process, each of these lines of evidence has undergone rigorous testing and has overcome all credible challenges. They reinforce one another and there are no contradictory lines of evidence that withstand scientific scrutiny. As a result, the basic scientific conclusions about climate change are extremely robust.
There are highly promising risk management options — ones that can reduce the risks of climate change, strengthen the U.S. economy, and promote job creation. Nevertheless, choices about whether and how to respond are complex, as you noted in your interview. People can welcome and accept the basic scientific assessments and still reach different conclusions about what to do. Many options would be consistent with your policy priorities.
You also said that scientists are making this political, which is misleading and very damaging. The scientific community welcomes all who commit to the pursuit of understanding through science irrespective of their political views, religious beliefs, and ethical values. As an institution, the American Meteorological Society takes no political positions and we proudly count among our members both individuals who strongly support you and those who routinely disagree. We are stronger for the breadth of our membership.
The American Meteorological Society would welcome the opportunity to work with your staff to ensure that they have full access to credible and scientifically validated information as you navigate the many difficult policy areas impacted by the Earth’s changing climate. We are confident that viable solutions exist and that they can be fruitfully developed if the best available knowledge and understanding is applied to the issues at hand.
Keith L. Seitter
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. Their more than 13,000 members include researchers, educators, students, enthusiasts, broadcasters and other professionals in weather, water, and climate. More online at: https://www.ametsoc.org.
ED Note: A pdf version of this letter may be downloaded from our archives here: Letter_President_Trump_Climate_Change_16October2018
Alternately one may read and/or download a pdf version of the letter directly on the AMS website at: https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/about-ams/ams-position-letters/letter-to-president-trump-on-climate-change/