Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In release of new report climate scientists trump Trump

The New York Times obtained a draft report (that you can read here) on climate change. The release, prior to approval by the administration, was apparently motivated by fear of rejection or wholesale redaction. Here are converging views of that report and its release.

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlogg) reports that Climate scientists preempt possible suppression from White House.

The New York Times obtained a striking new report on the climate crisis that, under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t yet be able to read.

The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now…. The report was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

What the New York Times obtained, in other words, is an advance look at one of “the most comprehensive climate science reports” ever written. The findings demand the world’s attention: we’re already feeling the effects of the climate crisis, and without significant action, the problems will only intensify. We know what’s causing the crisis and what we must do to address it.

But then there’s the story behind the story: this report was leaked for a reason.

Its authors appear to have shared the report with the New York Times because they don’t trust the Trump administration – for fairly obvious reasons. (Trump has argued that climate science is part of a massive conspiracy cooked up by the Chinese to undermine the free-enterprise system. He also appointed an EPA administrator who appears aggressively hostile to the agency and its work.)

And so the leak to the paper of record has become something of an insurance policy: if the administration suppresses the report, we’ll know. Just as importantly, if Team Trump demands changes to the report, we’ll know that, too.

This, evidently, is how our government works now.

Your move, White House.

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) questions whether Trump will release the report and then considers a larger issue about Trump’s bad attitude particularly toward climate science and science more generally.

WILL TRUMP RELEASE BIG CLIMATE REPORT? The New York Times reports that a new unreleased draft report from 13 federal agencies concludes climate change is an urgent threat that is human-created, and whose impact is being felt in the U.S. right now. But:

The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it. … The E.P.A. is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report by Aug. 18. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

Here’s a thought: Release the report, then Trump can tweet that it’s #FakeScience and #FakeNews and a #hoax, and then we can decide who is more credible.

A TEST FOR TRUMP ON SCIENCE: The Post reports that many in the scientific community view Trump’s handling of the climate report as a major test:

Many scientists are looking at it as a test case of the administration’s attitude toward science in general.

“The current situation will provide an acid test of whether the Trump administration is open to hearing the scientific truth about climate change or is so much in the thrall of fossil fuel interests that they are fixated on hiding the reality from the public,” Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, said Monday night.

One thing to watch for: If the administration contests or buries the report, will more scientists inside the administration start speaking out?

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