The Trump Administration approved the release of a scientific study verifying that humans are to blame for global warming, which is in direct contradiction of what the White House has been espousing on the policy.
Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, commented, “This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies. 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 compulsory assessment happens every four years and is part of a Congressional mandate called the National Climate Assessment, a group comprised of top governmental and academic experts approved by the National Academy of Sciences.
The executive summary of the report opens with key talking points, including past, present, and the expected impact of climate change in the U.S. and the planet.
Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.
This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
The study also showed that human-caused climate change also affects the global average sea level, which has risen 7-8 inches since 1900, at a rate higher than prior centuries going back at least 2,800 years.
Sea levels are predicted to continue rising "by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out."
Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, issued a statement that undermined the report's resoluteness.
“The climate has changed and is always changing. As the Climate Science Special Report states, the magnitude of future climate change depends significantly on ‘remaining uncertainty in the sensitivity of Earth’s climate’” to greenhouse gas emissions," Shah said.
The Environmental Protection Agency deleted online resources that help local governments discuss climate change in an attempt to deemphasize the global warming threat. A spokesperson said that information is still available on the website's archives.
Scientists who've been researching and drafting the report since 2015 feared that the report would be blocked, especially when Donald Trump took office and appointed cabinet members opposed to the theories on environmental issues.
Fortunately, none of the 13 federal agencies attempted to discredit the report.
The only speedbump came from a political appointee at the Department of Energy who wanted more details on climate data. The agencies gave their final approval once the authors added a detailed account of their methodology.
The urgency of which the report states human culpability couldn't be any clearer. "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the report concludes. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”
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