by Alexander C. Kaufman and Chris D’Angelo: The White House’s decision to release the report over the holiday weekend is likely to bury the sobering new findings…
The United States already warmed on average 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century and will warm at least 3 more degrees by 2100 unless fossil fuel use is dramatically curtailed, scientists from more than a dozen federal agencies concluded in their latest in-depth assessment.
The 13-agency consensus, authored by more than 300 researchers, found in the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment makes it clear the world is barreling toward catastrophic ― perhaps irreversible ― climate change. The report concluded that warming “could increase by 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century” without significant emissions reductions.
“Observations of global average temperature provide clear and compelling evidence the global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced,” said David Easterling, chief of the scientific services division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. “This warming trend can only be explained by human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”
It’s the sort of staggering reality the Trump administration seems eager to minimize. Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump antagonized climate scientists by tweeting, once again, that he believes cold weather disproves long-term trends of a warming climate.
“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” he posted Wednesday on Twitter.
That the White House opted to release the long-awaited update on climate change ― which Congress mandates the administration provide every four years ― on Black Friday, a popular shopping holiday the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, indicates it wanted fewer people to see the news about the findings. Monica Allen, a spokeswoman for NOAA, repeatedly pushed back against questions about when the White House decided to move up the release of the report.
“The decision was made in the last week or so,” she said. “Please, I ask you to focus on the content of the report. The substance.”
The report adds to an ever-growing, all-but-irrefutable body of scientific research that shows climate change is real and driven by human carbon emissions ― a reality that President Donald Trump and his team refuse to accept as they pursue a fossil fuel-focused “energy dominance” agenda.
Last year, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a special report ― the first volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment ― that found Earth has entered the warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” with global average air temperatures having increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years. And in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading United Nations consortium of researchers studying human-caused climate change, issued a report warning world governments must cut global emissions in half over the next 12 years to avoid warming of 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond which climate change is forecast to cause a cataclysmic $54 trillion in damages.