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Scientists launch contest to ‘eggsplain’ climate change to Trump

A group of conservation scientists has launched a funny contest with a serious goal: Submit photographs of an egg frying on a sidewalk to ‘eggsplain’ to American President Donald Trump that climate change is a real and dangerous problem.

In an effort to prove to United States President Donald Trump that climate change is a serious concern, an Australian conservation science alliance on Thursday launched a contest inviting people to send in photographs of an egg frying on a pavement.  

The Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers (ALERT), a global coalition of scientists, asked users to email in photos of eggs cooking on asphalt, along with location and temperature details, as well as the egg’s cooking time. It added, “funny details are welcome”. 

The contest may be in jest—eggs typically need to be heated to 70 degrees C to firm up—and may not please those who fret about food waste and the smell of discarded eggs, but it is a response to a sobering climate reality. The World Meteorological Organisation confirmed on January 18 this year that 2016 was indeed the hottest year on record, about 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. 

Despite this, the newly sworn in Trump has already authorised two controversial oil pipelines, tried to order the Environmental Protection Agency to delete references to climate change from its website—though the administration later backed down from this order—and vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate treaty. 

This is in addition to his pre-election claims that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese in a bid to make US manufacturing less competitive.

William Laurance, ALERT director and James Cook University distinguished research professor, recently told the Australian Media Science Centre that “somebody should fry an egg on the sidewalk and then send through a photo to Donald Trump”.

“He doesn’t seem to believe the science, but maybe he’d get that,” he added.  

Though Eco-Business’s own ‘eggsperiment’, conducted at noon in Sydney on Tuesday when the temperature was 39 deg C, was unsuccessful, others can send in photographs of their pavement-fried eggs to Jaime Huther at James Cook University.

ALERT said that the winner would be the fastest egg-cooker, “or maybe the person with the funniest story”. The winning photo will be mailed to Trump via the White House Media Office.

However, the contest isn’t the first global attempt at roadside cooking to raise awareness about climate change. In 2014, the World Wide Fund for Nature Paraguay hosted a ‘Global Warming Menu’ event in Asunción, the country’s capital and one of the hottest cities in the world.

The event, which aimed to educate the public about rising temperatures in the city and the impact of rampant deforestation in Paraguay, featured a chef serving up eggs and meat cooked on the hot asphalt to bystanders.  

ALERT’s contest is open until February 10.

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