As President Donald Trump touts new oil pipelines and pledges to revive the nation’s struggling coal mines, federal scientists are warning that burning fossil fuels is already driving a steep increase in the United States of heat waves, droughts and floods.
It is the latest example of collisions between Trump’s environmental policies and the facts presented by his government’s experts.
Contradicting Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax,” the draft report representing the consensus of 13 federal agencies concludes that the evidence global warming is being driven by human activities is “unambiguous.” That directly undercuts statements by Trump and his Cabinet casting doubt on whether the warming observed around the globe is being primarily driven by man-made carbon pollution.
“There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate,” says the report, citing thousands of peer-reviewed studies. “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.”
Faced with reams of evidence compiled by federal scientists that conflicts with their policy positions, Trump and his advisers frequently cite the work of industry-funded think tanks. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have championed the formation of a “red-team, blue-team” exercise where climate-change skeptics would publicly debate mainstream climate scientists.
Submitted as part of the upcoming National Climate Assessment, the draft federal report sends the overriding message that failing to curb carbon pollution now will exacerbate negative consequences in the future. That assessment calls into question the wisdom of Trump’s environmental and energy policies, which seek to boost U.S. production and consumption of fossil fuels even as the world’s other leading economies promote cleaner sources of energy.
An early version of the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was distributed widely in December for review by leading scientists. The New York Times published a copy Monday.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program, which will edit and produce the final climate report, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on Tuesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders criticized the Times for reporting on the draft document “without first verifying its contents with the…