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Trump administration is stepping up its war against climate science



The Trump administration is launching a new attack against US federal government-funded attempts to measure the impact of climate change, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Chief among the administration’s targets is the federal government-funded National Climate Assessment, which is released every four years.

Last year’s report painted a stark picture of the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, which stood in stark contrast to remarks made by the president calling into question the reality of global warming.

According to the study, which is produced by a consortium of 13 US government agencies, unchecked, climate change would cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars, and threaten the health, safety and quality of life of Americans.

The administration wants to stop climate reports from including “worst-case scenario” forecasts.
Nacho Doce/Reuters

The Trump administration has championed environmentally-damaging fossil fuels in the name of economic growth. But the report explicitly claims that climate change will hit the US economy hard, in a rebuke to the president’s polices.

It claims that long-term, climate change will cause sea levels to rise, give rise to devastating storms and crop failures.

Read more: Ice sheets are melting far faster than we thought — in a worst-case climate breakdown, coastal cities like New York and Shanghai would be swamped

According to the Times, the Trump administration will in future ensure reports omit “worst case scenario” projections from scientists.

“The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future,” Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Hewitt told the Times.

New measures proposed by the Trump administration would shorten the horizon climate change reports could focus on.

Other measures being reportedly taken by the administration as a part of its multi-front fight against measures to counter climate change include banning reference to the threat by National Security Council officials, and making the US Geological Survey change its modelling to project only until 2040, not a century ahead, as in previous assessments.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment, told the Times.

“It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

Read more: Disturbing before-and-after photos show how US cities — and their famous landmarks — could be underwater in 80 years

There are also plans for physicist William Happer, who has claimed that carbon dioxide is a “benefit to the world,” to lead a review panel to question to findings of climate scientists.

Six months after his inauguration Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change accords, and has also rolled back a series of Obama-era climate change regulations.

Earlier in May, secretary of State Mike Pompeo even told delegates at the Arctic Council that global warming presented opportunities to forge new trade routes through regions of the Arctic where ice caps had shrunk.

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