On Friday, 13 federal agencies under the Trump Administration released a comprehensive scientific report that states clearly that humans are the dominant cause of climate change. This may come as a surprise, given the Republican position on the issue. President Trump has called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese and has removed the United States from the landmark Paris agreement. Trump’s fellow Republicans have even tied themselves in knots to praise fossil fuels, with current US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry going so far as to link them with the prevention of sexual assault. The release of the legally mandated report highlights how far removed Trump and his Republicans remain from mainstream scientific opinion, even from within federal agencies under Trump’s leadership.
The report details the ways in which climate change has already impacted the planet, including a 1.8 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase in the past 115 years. The long-term trend towards a warmer, more volatile planet and human activity’s primary role in it is “unambiguous,” reads the report, and that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for the warming climate. The Trump Administration and the Republican Congress continues to argue otherwise in spite of the scientific consensus. “This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, according to the New York Times. “It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from their own scientists.”
The report is the latest installment of a congressionally mandated review known as the National Climate Assessment. Every four years, hundreds of scientists within government and academia compile a peer-reviewed report that is considered the United States government’s most authoritative statement on climate science. Although members of the Trump Administration clearly take issue with the science presented in the report, they are largely focused on passing tax reform and have chosen not to engage in a fight over climate change at this moment. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration’s decision to ignore climate science could have dire consequences in the future. “This profoundly affects our ability to be leaders in developing new technologies and understanding how to build successful communities and businesses in the 21st century,” said Christopher Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, according to the New York Times. “Choosing to be dumb about our relationship with the natural world is choosing to be behind the eight ball.”
Via New York Times