With the release of its National Climate Assessment on Friday, the U.S. government has released a report—which states the current period is “now the warmest in the history of modern civilization”—that critics say directly and irrefutably undermines the climate denialism and inaction of President Donald Trump and his administration.
Mandated by law and released every four years, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (or NCA4)—which states that recent years have seen “record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe”—concludes (with emphasis in the original) that “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. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”
Despite that being the declared consensus from the global scientific community for years, the Trump administration has done nearly everything in its power to cast doubt by embracing the denialism pushed by the fossil fuel industry. Instead of offering solutions to the crisis, the administration has been hard at work doing the bidding of the oil and gas industries while rolling back efforts—both domestically and internationally—meant to combat the threat of human-caused global warming.
As Friends of the Earth declared in a tweet, the assessment “sharply contradicts” the Trump administrations own policies by “affirming humans are climate change driver.”
Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biologicial Diversity, made a similar point.
“The contrast between this stark scientific warning and Trump’s reckless support for dirty fossil fuels is simply terrifying,” Wolf said. “Even as this report sounds the alarm, Trump’s team of climate deniers are twisting themselves into pretzels to justify blocking national and international climate action. If America’s leaders don’t start listening to scientists, the whole world is going to pay a truly terrible price.”
As the Washington Post reports, the Trump administration did not try to block the publication of the report even though “its findings sharply contradict the administration’s policies.” According to the Post:
The report’s release underscores the extent to which the machinery of the federal scientific establishment, operating in multiple agencies across the government, continues to grind on even as top administration officials have minimized or disparaged its findings. Federal scientists have continued to author papers and issue reports on climate change, for example, even as political appointees have altered the wording of news releases or blocked civil servants from speaking about their conclusions in public forums. The climate assessment process is dictated by a 1990 law that Democratic and Republican administrations have followed.
The good news about the new assessment, according to Wolf, is that it shows “scientists can beat Trump’s climate censorship if they speak out bravely.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Jon Queally, senior editor and staff writer, has been with Common Dreams, where this article originally appeared, since 2007 covering US politics, foreign policy, human and animal rights, climate change, and much in between.