Published on August 10th, 2017
by Steve Hanley
August 10th, 2017 by Steve Hanley
Congress has passed legislation calling for a National Climate Assessment every four years. The first such assessment was completed in 2014. Now, 13 agencies of the federal government have collaborated to produce a draft of the next report. The National Academy of Sciences is one of the groups that has signed off on the draft. But many both inside and outside government fear the final report will be suppressed by the so-called Trump administration.
Reason For Concern
They have good reason to be concerned. In essence, the report gives the lie to everything the administration is saying about how the notion that human activity contributes to climate change is just a theory and that no one can accurately might happen in the future, so let’s just keep on doing what we have been doing, which is finding new and creative ways to unleash more carbon that has been sequestered underground for millions of years.
The Trump maladministration is chock full of people up and down the chain of command who have drunk deeply of the Koch Brothers Kool Aid that discredits virtually all scientists as a bunch of megalomaniacs who spew out research just to justify their existence and perpetuate cushy assignments paid for by the taxpayers. The antipathy to science has never been greater since the days when Galileo locked horns with the Vatican over his findings derived from dropping objects from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Some of the key findings of the report are that the average temperature in the US has increased dramatically since 1980 and that recent decades have been among the warmest in the past 1,500 years. “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” the draft states. “There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”
Draft Published By New York Times
The draft was actually completed in January. It was uploaded to a nonprofit internet digital library but received little attention until it was published recently by the New York Times. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” the draft report says. Its conclusions are based on thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world.
Katharine Hayhoe, one of the government scientists who worked on the report, called its conclusions among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” yet published. Hayhoe is a professor of political science at Texas Tech University.
Even if people stopped emitting greenhouse gasses today, the earth’s average temperature would continue to rise another 0.3º Celsius by 2100. With the mitigating strategies proposed by the Paris climate accords, the actual increase is projected to be 2º Celsius, but that outcome is a “best case scenario” according to researchers at the University of Washington.
A “Fraught Situation”
The federal government under #FakePresident Trump has been busy scrubbing the words “climate change” from all government websites, in the belief that if it ignores the problem, it will go away.
“It’s a fraught situation,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University, who was not involved in the study. “This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it.”
The draft report says it is “extremely likely” more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 is attributable to human activity. In the US, the authors believe that average annual temperatures will continue to rise and make the years in which record high temperatures are “relatively common” in the near future.
Temps Rising Fastest In Alaska And Arctic
Much of the talk about rising temperatures assumes that the increase is uniform in all areas of the world. But one of the most troubling findings in the draft report is that air and ground temperatures in Alaska and the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average.
“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says. It claims human activity is primarily responsible for rising temperatures in those areas.
August 18 Deadline
The various agencies have until August 18 to prepare the final report in order to meet the timeline imposed by Congress. The scientific community is anxiously waiting to see what the findings in the official report will be.
It seems unlikely the climate change deniers Trump has installed at all levels of government will give the draft report their blessing. How they choose to spin the findings to fit their preconceived notions will be amusing to watch.
Source: New York Times
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About the Author
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel
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