RELEASE: CAP, Bellona Foundation Call on European Leaders to Renew Support for Climate Science

Brussels, Belgium Climate change is a global problem requiring collective action to reduce the pollution that causes it. Our understanding of this problem and our ability to address it rely on a vast body of data and analysis of Earth’s complex systems and how they contribute to—and are affected by—the changing climate. For decades, the United States and its European allies have worked together to conduct research, reach an overwhelming consensus on the human causes of climate change, and inform policymakers around the world on its impacts and remedies.

The Center for American Progress and the Bellona Foundation are calling on European leaders to continue this valuable collaboration and renew their support for climate science and Earth observation despite efforts by President Donald Trump to cut these programs. This effort comes as CAP founder John Podesta holds a briefing today with Bellona Europa officials to discuss a recent CAP analysis that shows how the Trump administration is trying to undermine global action on climate change, as well as what this means for the European Union (EU).

“At a time when climate change impacts—from wildfires to hurricanes—have become increasingly devastating and widespread, the Trump administration is denying the science and cutting funding for critical programs,” Podesta said. “Suffering communities in the United States and around the globe deserve better.”

CAP research has shown that the Trump administration would have cut up to 16.8 percent of federal climate science programs if U.S. Congress had not rejected the White House’s budget proposals. Leading U.S. scientists and policymakers have agreed that political interference by the administration in these programs amounts to an attack on science and democracy. The elimination of U.S. contributions to international climate science efforts—such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Climate Observation System in 2017—has chilled scientific collaboration around the globe.

The European Union and its member states must ensure that funding for critical climate research is secured, especially after the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for science. As such, the EU should increase its budget for climate research by the same amount that Trump is proposing to cut, as a clear signal to the scientific community that climate change remains a vital priority for Europe. The EU must also use its position as a multilateral organization to forge agreements among its member states to collaborate in the field of climate research. Most importantly, the EU should strive to guarantee that research that helps to understand the climate is kept open and free of charge.

“Every satellite that the United States fails to deploy as a result of Trump’s cuts should be counterbalanced by a European satellite, ensuring that we do not lose access to vital information on the climate. Every research program facing funding uncertainty because of the Trump administration should be able to feel safe in the knowledge that the EU is there to pick up the slack,” said Frederic Hauge, founder and president of the Bellona Foundation. “After such a stark warning from the IPCC regarding the future of our climate, we simply cannot afford to rely on a science-denying White House to provide the necessary funds for us to better understand the causes, implications, and solutions, to man-made climate change.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.