Climate scientist calls for 'world war type mobilization' to combat climate change

Climate scientist Michael Mann is calling for a “world war-type” mobilization to address climate change.

“We do need a world-war type mobilization and that means putting in place incentives to move our economy as quickly as we can away from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Mann, a scientist at Pennsylvania State University who is known for taking on climate skeptics, told Hill.TV in an interview that aired Wednesday.

“Now how we do that, there’s a legitimate policy debate to be had about how we do that but there isn’t a legitimate debate to be had anymore about the need to do that,” he added.

Mann warned that lawmakers should take immediate action, arguing that the Trump administration is actively seeking to dismantle 50 years of environmental protections put in place by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

He pointed to Trump’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 Obama-era policy aimed at combatting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, as an example.

Mann also argued that Trump is "committed to denying" climate change and has pushed to prevent the government from taking the issue into account when making policy decisions.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) reportedly opted against publicizing dozens of peer-reviewed studies on climate change while Trump has been in office. Politico reported last week that the studies all point to the potential effects of climate change on everything from allergies to crops. 

A USDA spokesperson told The Hill that there were no directives to limit the spread of climate-related research.

During his interview, Mann voiced support for a number of Democrats seeking to take on Trump in 2020, arguing that any of the Democratic hopefuls would prove to be a better alternative on the issue of climate action than the current administration.

“There’s a world of difference of where the Trump administration is and all of the Democrats and I would hate to see too much infighting at this point,” Mann told Hill.TV. “Let's make sure that we elect a president who’s not going to continue to lead us backward and defy the rest of the world as we try to work on this existential threat.”

Mann’s comments come amid calls for a standalone climate debate for Democratic primary candidates. 

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is considering two measures related to holding such a debate and the two proposals could be voted on as early as August.

—Tess Bonn