Trump team moving away from supporters on climate science

Donald Trump and his cabinet accept far more of the research on climate change than many of their political supporters, say British scientists.

UK researchers say Mr Trump’s team acknowledge key concepts such as the relationship between fossil fuels and rising temperatures. They are among a group of 100 scientists urging the Prime Minister to push the President-elect on climate. Mr Trump has previously pledged to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal.

Evolving position

Throughout the presidential election campaign, Donald Trump made clear that the Paris agreement was “bad for US business”.

He said the pact allows “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use”.

Since winning the White House, Mr Trump has moderated his view somewhat, saying he now has an “open mind” on US involvement in the pact.

Many environmentalists have railed against his nominations for key posts, accusing them of denying or minimising climate science. These include Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Speaking to the media, UK climate experts said there were reasons for hope that the pro-active climate change agenda adopted by President Obama would survive under President Trump.

“It is clear that they actually accept a great deal more of the science of human influence on climate than they are prepared to let on,” said Prof Myles Allen from the University of Oxford.

“They are acknowledging there is a link, there is a potential problem and that’s already more than enough to justify continuing the relatively modest goals of both the Paris agreement and Clean Power Plan.”

At odds with the base

Prof Allen believes that the statements of the transition team to date are far removed from the views expressed by their grassroots supporters.

“We’re in a situation where the foot soldiers of denial are well behind their generals,” he told reporters.

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