If A Disastrous Climate Report Drops And Trump Ignores It — Does It Make A Sound?

While we fight among ourselves, the growing threat of climate change creeps forward

An iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle — Aug, 16, 2005 (AP/John McConnico)

Updated November 24, 2018: Yet another devastating climate change report has dropped, this time from the Trump administration. “Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns

Two weeks ago, the New York Times published an exclusive article covering a climate change report that directly links humans to climate damage. It was leaked by scientists that feared the Trump Administration would attempt to suppress the information. The researchers wanted to send a clear message to President Trump: anthropogenic climate change is real and it is an enormous threat to the future of our planet.

The report was not supposed to be released until 2018, but researchers were so concerned that the Trump Administration would bury the findings they leaked it to the press. The White House claims to be reviewing the findings but has yet to staff their science policy office. The National Climate Assessment study, required by Congress to be released in four-year increments, requires 13 federal agency signatures and one from the White House by August 18 in order to release the report.

Specifically, the report detailed disturbing findings that are at odds with the administration’s science-denying politics. According to the authors, it is “extremely likely” that the change in climate over the last 40 or so years has been directly caused by human actions. Scott Pruitt, the climate skeptic in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was supposed to sign off on the report by the deadline but ordered it to be “peer-reviewed” for “accuracy.”

When the August 18 mark hit, instead of signing onto the report, the White House dismantled the 15-person federal advisory committee on climate change.

Backlash in response to the early release of the climate report erupted in the last week over how the leak may hinder the federal approval process, causing tension across the board with scientists. Some researchers disagree with the leak of the report, others thought it was necessary to serve as a check on a government that has a problem with the truth.

The report says it’s likely that emissions of greenhouse gasses from human activity have caused between 0.9 F and 2.3 F degrees of warming between the years of 1951 and 2010. Such findings could be catastrophic to the environment if action is not taken.

The National Climate Assessment

Sea level rise is another alarming factor. The report states:

Global mean sea level (GMSL) has risen by about 7–8 inches (about 16–21 cm) since 1900, with 4 about 3 of those inches (about 7 cm) occurring since 1993 (very high confidence). Human-caused 5 climate change has made a substantial contribution to GMSL rise since 1900 (high confidence), 6 contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800.

Other data from the American Meteorological Society’s annual State of the Climate report discovered that global temperatures, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, have hit all-time high levels and 2016.

For the last three years, U.S. atmospheric temperatures have been the highest on record and carbon dioxide levels have increased by 3.5 parts per million, which serves as the most significant rise in over 58 years.

CO2 levels have now reached over the “400 parts per million threshold,” which according to scientists, marks the “redline” that pushes the climate change status of the earth into the “danger-zone.”

All of these components make the issue of climate change one of dire importance that should transcend partisan politics…but unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Science Suppression And Resistance

Protestors (including Bill Nye) carry a banner and signs as they pass the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the March For Science in Washington — Saturday, April 22, 2017 (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

In June, President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord as other nations have been taking greater steps towards combatting the common threat of climate change. But even before then, there was widespread activism directed towards the Trump administration due to the fact this president does not believe in the science of climate change. Many have been vocal in opposing his efforts to gut scientific research and rollback regulations on emissions.

Protestors all across the world have cried out in opposition to the president’s stances on science and global warming, the leaking of the National Climate Assessment was no exception. Scientists fear the president’s stances and budgetary cuts on the issue. For instance, the EPA is slated to lose 31% of its funding in the upcoming fiscal year if the president’s budget passes.

Dr. Peter Meyer, who is the President of The EP Systems Group, came out in opposition to the president’s climate stances. Meyer spoke about the leaked climate assessment, telling The Independent that “given that the agencies have been stripping all information about climate change off their web pages, of course it will not be approved.”

More specifically, for more than 20 years, the EPA’s website has had a section dedicated to climate change information — that is up until Mr. Trump became president. The EPA no longer has that portion available to view.

Since President Trump has come into office, many have feared a regression in America’s ability to effectively combat environmental dangers. His words and actions almost always contradict the findings of government scientists.

Despite the 97% scientific consensus among published climate scientists that rapid global warming trends are extremely likely due to human activities, the president has stuck to his false assertions that global warming does not exist — his tweets on the topic are prime examples.

The leak of this climate report fits within a pattern of government officials eager to whistle-blow to influence the White House’s stances. Many Americans believe the U.S. should be in a position of global leadership on climate change. They believe the U.S. should be actively working to lessen the impacts of carbon emissions and global warming but both Pruitt and the president have proven to not be in line with these desires.

The Trump administration does not respect science or facts and has actively tried to discredit the reality of climate change. The discrepancy in information comes off as an effort to confuse the public and undercut scientific findings. The Guardian received a string of email correspondence among staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that revealed the Trump Administration’s opposition to specific language regarding climate change.

The usage of the phrase “climate change adaptation” has reportedly been placed in the “avoid” category and instead, will now be referenced as “resilience to weather extremes” instead. Other key phrases and terminology have also been ruled out.

This move is just one of many that showcase President Trump’s relentless opposition to the science of climate change. And he hasn’t stopped there…

A Counterproductive Infrastructure Executive Order

President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (AP)

In the midst of the heightened concern over environmental issues, the president signed an executive order on August 15 to significantly rollback environmental regulations in order to speed up the permit process for infrastructure projects.

“It’s going to be quick, it’s going to be a very streamlined process,” Trump said. “And by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it. Very simple. We’re not going to approve it.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that this executive order repeals former President Obama’s executive order to require projects built in flood plains with federal aid to take seal level rise caused by climate change into consideration prior to projects being initiated.

In the released NCA climate report, the details on seal level rise are also indicated to be very dangerous and could rise up to a foot per decade after 2050. Environmental specialists have mentioned that ignoring these findings when implementing policy at the federal level could pose a serious danger to Earth.

Making government more efficient can be a positive thing, however, reducing regulations put in place to ensure environmental safety is reckless.

The Climate Order that will be rolled back by the new Trump executive order has caused concern. This is a disregard of the environment for the benefit of corporate interests. And Americans who live near the infrastructure that is built without consideration of this sea level rise will be hit the hardest.

Why is all this so important? Because the long-term effects of this rapid global warming will be catastrophic. The rising of our sea levels, massive floods, stronger hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, poisoned food, an increase in terrorism, the list goes on. Last summer, the first mammal went extinct due to climate change. If these warming trends continue at the rate they are currently trending, large regions like North Africa and the Middle East could become uninhabitable by the end of this century, creating an unprecedented migration crisis. It is indisputable that climate change will affect every level of our existence.

The Trump administration clearly wants to take the U.S. in a direction that favors less regulation at the expense of not only the American people, but humanity as a whole. The future of our planet is clouded in mass uncertainty.

Climate change is one of the most significant existential threats facing humanity. Is it too much to ask that our government take it seriously?

News // Climate Change / Donald Trump / Politics / Science