Draft climate change report at odds with Trump administration
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt
The average temperature in the United States is rising fast because of "human activities," and Americans are already feeling the impact of climate change, according to a draft federal report.
The draft report, first reported on by The New York Times, contradicts claims by President Trump and his team who have downplayed the human contribution to climate change and questioned the ability of scientists to predict its effects.
The Times cites a scientist involved in the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying that he and others were concerned the report would be suppressed by the administration. The Times said the report had not yet been made public, but EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the report actually has been in the public domain since January.
"We continue to discuss the best path forward for an honest, open dialogue in regard to climate science," she said in a statement.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been among the most vocal challengers of studies indicating carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. In his previous job as Oklahoma attorney general, he repeatedly sued the EPA over its efforts to regulate smog and other types of pollution.
More: We're cooked: Earth's atmosphere to warm by at least another 2 degrees
More: Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’ brings climate change debate into the Trump era
The report was completed this year as part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The EPA is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report this month.
The draft report by scientists from those federal agencies says recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years.
“Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” they wrote.
Former vice president Al Gore encouraged the Trump administration to release the report. " I call on the Trump Administration to make this Inconvenient report public," he tweeted.
The report concludes that even if humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees F of warming over this century compared with today. Since that is unlikely the projected actual rise is more than 3 degrees, according to the report.
The numbers are in line with another report, led by University of Washington researcher Adrian Raftery and released last week, that determined there is only a 5% chance that Earth will warm 2 degrees or less by the end of this century.
That study was published in the British journal Nature Climate Change.
Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University who was not involved in the study, told the Times the federal report represents the first in-depth analysis of climate change has come up in the Trump administration.
"Scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it," he said.
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