Explorers, Robert De Niro denounce Trump moves on climate change

British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard expressed fears about US President Trump's moves to roll back environmental protections.

Published: 27th March 2017 08:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2017 08:53 AM   |  A+A-

Oscar wining actor Robert De Niro. (File photo | AFP)


NEW YORK: Top British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard are expressing fears about US President Donald Trump's moves to roll back environmental protections.

Their criticism was backed by actor Robert De Niro, who joined them late Saturday at the 113th dinner of The Explorers Club in New York, held every year to honor great adventurers in the presence of over 1,000 guests.

Fiennes -- who has been dubbed the world's greatest living explorer -- recalled his earliest expeditions to the Arctic.

"In the 1970s, we designed man-hauled sledges so that they were slightly waterproof in case there was a bit of water up there," the 73-year-old told AFP.

"By the mid-90s, we were designing canoes to be sledges... In the five years since I was last around, that area has got so that ski-planes won't even land," meaning their use in rescue missions is no longer possible, he explained.

"Trump has got to get around to the view that (Barack) Obama had, which is to encourage everything to vie against climate change, not to increase it."

Switzerland's Piccard, who received the club's medal for co-piloting the first round-the-globe trip in a solar plane, said the way to "Make America Great Again," as per Trump's campaign slogan, was to use "clean technologies."

"Today, the solutions (to climate change) are profitable. They create jobs, they make profit, they sustain growth and at the same time they protect the environment," he said.

Attending the dinner as an admirer of explorers, De Niro also denounced the new administration's attitude toward environmental issues.

"Every day brings news about how we're sprinting away from common sense and care for our planet," he said.

"In the last two weeks alone, we've seen America's leadership proposing... to deny the facts and dismiss the facts on climate change."

Trump on Friday gave final approval for the building of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, overriding environmental concerns in favor of boosting jobs and energy supply.

His proposed 2018 budget would also slash funding for science, health and environmental programs at home and abroad, sparking an outcry among experts who say the cuts would endanger the planet.

The blueprint must be approved by lawmakers before it can take effect.

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