[Marxism] U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 3 12:22:28 MDT 2017

NY Times, Nov. 3 2017
U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump 

Phoenix experienced record highs in June. The report says there are “no 
convincing alternative explanations” other than human activity to 
account for rising global temperatures. Credit Ralph Freso/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The Earth is experiencing the warmest period in the history 
of civilization and humans are the dominant cause of the temperature 
rise that has occurred since the start of the 20th century, according to 
an exhaustive scientific report unveiled Friday by 13 federal agencies. 
The report was approved by the White House, but it directly contradicts 
much of the Trump administration’s position on climate change.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 
degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and 
temperature extremes. The global, long-term warming trend is 
“unambiguous,” the report says, and there is “no convincing alternative 
explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the 
power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The findings come as the Trump administration is defending its climate 
change policies on several fronts. The United Nations convenes its 
annual climate change conference next week in Bonn, Germany, and the 
Trump delegation is expected to face harsh criticism over President 
Trump’s decision to walk away from the 195-nation Paris accord on 
climate and top American officials’ stated doubts about the causes and 
impacts of a warming planet.

“This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are 
totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their 
policies,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research 
Center. “It begs the question, where are members of the administration 
getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from 
their own scientists.”

The Earth has set temperature highs for three years running, and six of 
the last 17 years are the warmest years on record for the globe. Weather 
catastrophes from floods to hurricanes to heat waves have cost the 
United States $1.1 trillion since 1980, the report says, and it warns 
that such phenomena may become common.

“The frequency and intensity of extreme high temperature events are 
virtually certain to increase in the future as global temperature 
increases,” the report notes. “Extreme precipitation events will very 
likely continue to increase in frequency and intensity throughout most 
of the world.”

In the United States, the report finds that every part of the country 
has been touched by warming, from droughts in the Southeast to flooding 
in the Midwest to a worrying rise in air and ground temperatures in 
Alaska, and conditions will continue to worsen.

“This assessment concludes, 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,” the report states.

“Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and 
beyond. The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will 
depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases 
emitted globally and on the remaining uncertainty in the sensitivity of 
Earth’s climate to those emissions,” it adds.

The climate science report is part of a congressionally mandated review 
conducted every four years known as the National Climate Assessment. The 
product of hundreds of experts and scientists within the government and 
academia and peer reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, it is 
considered the United States’ most definitive statement on climate 
change science.

But the Environmental Protection Agency has wiped references to climate 
change from its website and barred its scientists from presenting 
scientific reports on the subject, and its administrator, Scott Pruitt, 
does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to warming. 
Rick Perry, the energy secretary, asserted Wednesday that “the science 
is out” on whether humans cause climate change.

Jim Bridenstine, the Oklahoma congressman whom President Trump nominated 
to lead NASA, came under fire this week from multiple lawmakers 
demanding to know his position on climate change. “Carbon dioxide is in 
fact a greenhouse gas,” Mr. Bridenstine allowed, but declined to say if 
he accepted it as the primary cause of climate change. He did pledge 
that scientists would not be punished or reassigned for working on or 
speaking about global warming.

Yet none of those agencies nor the White House moved to stop the 
report’s publication, and the White House Office of Science and 
Technology Policy signed off on the final release, despite fear among 
some scientists involved in the research that the Trump administration 
would block it or seek to water it down. That, researchers said, now 
creates an unusual situation in which government policies are in direct 
opposition to the science it is producing.

Christopher Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the 
Environment at Stanford University, called that “tragic.”

“This profoundly affects our ability to be leaders in developing new 
technologies and understanding how to build successful communities and 
businesses in the 21st century,” Mr. Field said. “Choosing to be dumb 
about our relationship with the natural world is choosing to be behind 
the eight ball.”

Critics of climate change science attacked the report as the product of 
holdovers from former President Obama’s administration, and also 
chastised the Trump administration for allowing it to be published. 
Others said the science may be valid but those findings should not 
affect laws to address the rise of emissions.

“I really don’t think that determines policy at all,” said Marlo Lewis 
Jr., a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Mr. Lewis 
said he does not deny that the majority of warming is caused by man-made 
emissions. But, he said, “The thing is, I’m also going to affirm that 
there are risks of climate policy as well as climate change. To me the 
real issue is, where do the risks lie? Suppressing your economy is never 
a good solution.”

The report finds with very high confidence that the average annual 
temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.2 
degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 degrees Celsius) since 1986, relative to the 
previous century. It is projected to rise, scientists said with an 
equally high degree of confidence, about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.4 
degrees Celsius by midcentury. That will mean hotter days and nights, 
particularly in urban and densely populated areas.

The report finds with high confidence that if greenhouse gas 
concentrations were stabilized at their current level, the world will 
still see at least an additional 1.1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree 
Celsius) of warming over this century.

“This new report simply confirms what we already knew. Human-caused 
climate change isn’t just a theory, it’s reality,” said Michael E. Mann, 
a distinguished professor of atmospheric science and the director of the 
Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. “Whether we’re 
talking about unprecedented heat waves, increasingly destructive 
hurricanes, epic drought and inundation of our coastal cities, the 
impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. They are upon us. That’s 
the consensus of our best scientists, as laid bare by this latest report.”

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