The White House released a scientific report Friday saying that climate change is happening and there’s no “alternative explanation” for what we are witnessing. Ironically, the Trump administration is also working hard to deny climate change and undo environmental and climate policies.
It’s man-made climate change
The government’s National Climate Assessment is released every year, as mandated by law. The report’s scientific conclusions should surprise no one, as we already knew that climate change was happening and that humans are causing it.
“Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes in the industrial era, especially over the last six decades (see attribution analysis in Ch. 3: Detection and Attribution),” the report writes.
“Over the last century, there are no alternative explanations supported by the evidence that are either credible or that can contribute more than marginally to the observed patterns. There is no convincing evidence that natural variability can account for the amount of and the pattern of global warming observed over the industrial era.”
Authors continue, stating that there’s really not much debate around these conclusions, echoing what thousands of other papers concluded before them: no matter how you look at it, anthropogenic climate change is happening, and scientists are quite certain of it.
“Highly diverse types of direct measurements made on land, sea, and in the atmosphere over many decades have allowed scientists to conclude with high confidence that global mean temperature is increasing. Observational datasets for many other climate variables support the conclusion with high confidence that the global climate is changing.”
“There is no climate analog for this century at any time in at least the last 50 million years,” it worryingly continues.
The report says Americans (like the rest of the world) are already experiencing the effects of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases. Even more worrying, the report warns of the unpredictable, severe climate and weather changes to come in the future. This is also in line with previous predictions, which claim that extreme weather will become more and more common.
An alternate reality
What is surprising — and it’s disheartening to even consider — is that the current administration didn’t try to hide or edit the paper’s findings. Many were expecting Trump and his allies to try and sweep the report under the rug, but this isn’t the case.
“I’m quite confident to say there has been no political interference in the scientific messages from this report,” David Fahey, an atmospheric scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a lead author of the study, told reporters on Friday.
Unfortunately, the current US administration has shown, time and time again, that it disagrees with scientists — and with science in general. President Trump himself has repeatedly declared that he doesn’t believe in climate change, and he has surrounded himself with other deniers, attempting to undo as many environmental policies as possible. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have both spoken, time and time again, against climate change, and subsequently, against anthropogenic climate change. Ironically, this report speaks against all of them, and pretty much against all environmental policies this government has opted for. It almost seems like the current government is establishing its own parallel reality, without any regard to scientific realities.
“This is a federal government report whose contents completely undercut their policies, completely undercut the statements made by senior members of the administration,” said Phil Duffy, director of the Woods Hole Research Center.
Notably, under Trump, no agency has been as hostile to science and the environment than the Environmental Protection Agency. Under administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA has pretty much turned into a fief for fossil fuel companies, deleting important climate science pages from its website and replacing climate scientists with industry reps.