A damning climate change report has been made public amid fear it could be hidden by the Trump administration.
The study finds that the average temperature in the US has been rising quickly since 1980, and that it is now hotter than any other time in the last 1,500 years. As such, it argues that Americans are already living under the effects of climate change, and that it might already be impossible to fully mitigate against its effects.
But the report is just as significant for the fact that despite being compiled by scientists from across the US government, it had to be leaked for fear that it could be stifled by the White House. Donald Trump has in the past suggested that he thinks global warming is a Chinese hoax and has appointed climate change deniers to top government positions.
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The report is in direct contradiction of the public stance of Mr Trump and those around him. It argues that there is clear evidence for climate change, “from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans”, according to a leaked version that was published by the New York Times.
“Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor,” it reads. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes.”
The report concludes that the world has already been irreversibly damaged by climate change, and that even if humans stopped making greenhouse gas immediately the planet would still have warmed by 0.3C. But it’s most likely that global warming will be as much as 2C, which could bring about devastating changes in the environment, weather and planet.
But despite that clear evidence, scientists told the New York Times that they were concerned that the government would seek to suppress the report and it may not be published. Instead, it was passed to the newspaper to publish online for fear it would never be seen.
That is despite the report being part of the National Climate Assessment, which must be completed every four years. It is waiting for approval from the Trump administration before it can be properly published, as well as from the Environmental Protection Agency, to which Mr Trump has appointed climate science denier Scott Pruitt as its head.
Researchers said that it will be an important moment to test whether the Trump administration is going to work to suppress such climate research. It is the first case of an analysis of the climate of such scope has come to be published under Donald Trump, one scientists told the New York Times.