Hawaii scientists are reacting with anger and dismay after President Trump's decision Thursday to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord aimed at slowing global warming and climate change.
"This morning after I saw the news, I realized that this president has lost his mind," said Camilo Mora, a University of Hawaii professor who has published studies documenting a rise in global temperatures. He said the U.S. owes it to the world to reduce its carbon output.
"We are the second largest producer of carbon dioxide on this planet, so for us to get out of this thing is for us to stop being responsible," he said. "This is like us producing garbage and not paying for someone to pick it up."
Trump's decision comes as scientist say Hawaii continues to see the effects of global climate change.
A study released this week, for example, chronicles the declining health of the coral in Hanauma Bay.
"Hanauma Bay had about 50 percent bleaching where the corals turn white. And if the temperatures don't return to normal, they can die," said Kuulei Rodgers, a biologist who co-authored the study published in the journal PeerJ.
Rodgers also said 10 percent of those corals have died in Hanauma Bay. But corals elsewhere around the Hawaiian islands have fared even worse.
"The Kona coast of the Big Island, some places with 50 percent mortality," she said.
The study blames what Rodgers said is an indisputable increase in ocean temperatures. "Temperatures are recorded. They've been recorded throughout the world. and the temperatures are rising. And they're rising very rapidly," she said.
Meanwhile, Mora said last week's extremely high tides are proof that climate change is happening, and that steps still need to be taken to slow it down, or else there will be dire consequences.
"It's going to be millions, if not billions of dollars what sea level rise will mean to the Hawaiian economy down the road, but you don't have to look 10, 20, a hundred years from now," said Mora. "You can see what's happening here every time there's a high tide."