SCI­EN­TISTS CON­TRA­DICT TRUMP

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Biesecker and Seth Borenstein

Di­rectly con­tra­dict­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a draft re­port pro­duced by 13 fed­eral agen­cies con­cludes that the United States is al­ready feel­ing the neg­a­tive im­pacts of cli­mate change, with a stark in­crease in the fre­quency of heat waves, heavy rains and other ex­treme weather over the past four decades.

WASH­ING­TON» As Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump touts oil pipe­lines and pledges to re­vive the na­tion’s coal mines, fed­eral sci­en­tists are warn­ing that burn­ing fos­sil fu­els al­ready is driv­ing a steep in­crease in the United States of heat waves, droughts and floods.

It is the lat­est ex­am­ple of col­li­sions be­tween Trump’s en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and facts pre­sented by his gov­ern­ment’s ex­perts.

Con­tra­dict­ing Trump’s claims that cli­mate change is a “hoax,” the draft re­port rep­re­sent­ing the con­sen­sus of 13 fed­eral agen­cies con­cludes that the ev­i­dence global warm­ing is be­ing driven by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties is “un­am­bigu­ous.” That di­rectly un­der­cuts state­ments by Trump and his Cab­i­net cast­ing doubt on whether the warm­ing ob­served around the globe is be­ing pri­mar­ily driven by man-made car­bon pol­lu­tion.

“There are no al­ter­na­tive ex­pla­na­tions, and no nat­u­ral cy­cles are found in the ob­ser­va­tional record that can ex­plain the ob­served changes in cli­mate,” says the re­port, cit­ing thou­sands of peer-re­viewed stud­ies. “Ev­i­dence for a changing cli­mate abounds, from the top of the at­mos­phere to the depths of the oceans.”

Faced with reams of ev­i­dence com­piled by fed­eral sci­en­tists that con­flicts with their pol­icy po­si­tions, Trump and his ad­vis­ers fre­quently cite the work of in­dus­try-funded think tanks. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency chief Scott Pruitt and En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry have cham­pi­oned the for­ma­tion of a “red-team, blue-team” ex­er­cise where cli­mate-change skep­tics would pub­licly de­bate main­stream cli­mate sci­en­tists.

Sub­mit­ted as part of the up­com­ing Na­tional Cli­mate As­sess­ment, the draft fed­eral re­port sends the over­rid­ing mes­sage that fail­ing to curb car­bon pol­lu­tion now will ex­ac­er­bate neg­a­tive con­se­quences in the fu­ture. That as­sess­ment calls into ques­tion the wis­dom of Trump’s en­vi­ron­men­tal and en­ergy poli­cies, which seek to boost U.S. pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion of fos­sil fu­els even as the world’s other lead­ing economies pro­mote cleaner sources of en­ergy.

An early ver­sion of the re­port, a copy of which was ob­tained by The Associated Press, was dis­trib­uted widely in De­cem­ber for re­view by lead­ing sci­en­tists. The New York Times pub­lished a copy Mon­day.

The U.S. Global Change Re­search Pro­gram, which will edit and pro­duce the fi­nal cli­mate re­port, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Tues­day.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Sanders crit­i­cized The Times for re­port­ing on the draft doc­u­ment “with­out first ver­i­fy­ing its con­tents with the White House or any of the fed­eral agen­cies di­rectly in­volved with cli­mate and en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy.”

She then de­clined to com­ment on the re­port.

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