More than 700 physics and astronomy faculty members from across the country have signed onto a letter written by three Maine professors urging President-elect Donald Trump to make tackling climate change an “urgent priority.”

“Addressing climate change will involve short-term costs, but will also mean new investments, new jobs and new opportunities for global leadership; things that Americans around the country will welcome,” reads the letter sent Wednesday to the president-elect’s Trump Tower office in New York.

“President-elect Trump, we implore you to address the threat of climate change immediately. In so doing, you have a unique opportunity to make America an even greater country and secure a better future for all the children of the world.”

Three Maine professors – Paul Nakroshis of the University of Southern Maine and Mark Battle and Madeleine Msall of Bowdoin College – began drafting the letter soon after Trump’s election.

In the months since, they contacted colleagues at 751 colleges and universities with degree-granting physics programs. The final version sent Wednesday to Trump and released to the public as an “open letter” on Thursday was signed by 706 physics and astronomy scientists from 45 states.

Trump is a climate change skeptic and several of his Cabinet nominees have either fought against federal regulations to combat climate change or worked in the fossil fuels industry. In their letter, the professors wrote that “the scientific community is highly confident that human use of fossil fuels is the dominant driver of this warming” and that there is “no meaningful dissent” within the scientific community that carbon dioxide emissions are the dominant factor behind the warming climate.

Battle, an associate professor of physics who works on climate issues, said the three leaders of the letter as well as many of the signers were fully aware of Trump’s skepticism toward climate change and dismissal of the scientific consensus on the issue.

“But our feeling was we couldn’t stand by and do nothing with a clear conscience,” Battle said.

Battle stressed that while “a great majority” of the signatories to the letter were not climate scientists, they were all “trained scientists and trained communicators” who are able to recognize valid science and communicate it in a clear way.

“As faculty members and researchers from Departments of Physics and Astronomy around the United States, we urge you to address this issue as a most urgent priority,” reads the letter.

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