International Paper Company mill, 1973 [From EPA Documerica series]
It is abundantly clear that the Trump Administration does not believe in science.
In its six months to date, it chose a climate-science denier to lead the Environmental Protection agency; rolled back two dozen regulations limiting air, water, and land pollution; and announced a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement to limit carbon emissions.
Now a new report drafted by scientists from 13 government agencies contains even grimmer news: the effects of climate change are already being felt, and it is "extremely" likely that more than half of global mean temperature increase since 1951 has been caused by human activity.
The so-far unreleased 545-page Climate Science Special Report has been approved by the National Academy of Sciences.
It was leaked to the press out of concerns, one scientist told The New York Times, that it would be suppressed by the Trump administration.
Since taking office, the administration has appeared intent on removing the phrase "climate change" from government documents, studies, and even public discussions.
EPA website redirect page replaces scientific information on climate change, April 30, 2017
The 13 government agencies must sign off on the report by Sunday. Many of those agencies are now headed by climate-science deniers and fossil-fuel proponents.
As The Washington Post summarized, the study's conclusions are deeply worrying:
Its findings on the consequences of climate change are dire, and humans are to blame. Among the top-line conclusions of the report are the determination that it is “extremely likely” that more than half of the rise in temperatures over the past four decades has been caused by human activity.
The receding Arctic ice and an increase in the acidification of the oceans is “unparalleled in at least the past 66 million years.”
Even if society immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases, the world temperature is still predicted to rise an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit by about 2100. Recent record-setting years of temperature highs will become “relatively common."
In the United States specifically, the report finds that extreme cold waves have decreased in the past three decades while extreme heat waves have become more common.
It notes, with "very high" confidence, that the severity and frequency of hot days has increased since the 1960s, while the number and severity of colder-than-average nights has fallen.
President Donald Trump (Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Climate scientists have lately suggested that continued increases in global temperature could make some now-occupied portions of the earth uninhabitable, and produce heat so high that it can kill even healthy human beings.
What the Trump Administration plans to do with and about the leaked report is not yet known.
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