Five takeaways from the federal climate report

The New York Times on Tuesday detailed the conclusions of a major and how scientists are preparing for pushback from President Trump’s administration.

The report is part of an effort that 13 federal agencies undertake every four years to report on the state of the climate and climate science.

It’s government-mandated, but the Trump administration has yet to sign off on the report, raising concerns that the administration could undercut some of its more dire observations and predictions.

Scientists are afraid of Trump

Scientists who spoke to The New York Times — those involved in the report and those outside its process — said it was sent to the newspaper because scientists are afraid that Trump will suppress some or all of its findings.

“We are seeing this report now because scientists, like the vast majority of Americans, do not trust the Trump administration with the truth,” said Liz Perera, climate policy director for the Sierra Club.

The publicity calls attention to any changes the administration might make

The climate science study has been publicly available on a government server for months, but it is attracting widespread attention due to the Times’s story.

Now that the Times has publicized the draft report, the final climate study will be subject to scrutiny from scientists and others who doubt the Trump administration’s commitment to fighting climate change.

The report directly contradicts Trump officials’ arguments

Trump administration officials say the climate is changing and humans have some influence, but they argue scientists can’t quantify what the level of influence is or what can be done about it.

“There’s a warming trend — the climate is changing,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in April on Fox News.

“And human activity contributes to that change in some measure. The real issue is how much we contribute to it.”

That’s in contrast with the scientific consensus that human activity, via greenhouse gases, is far and away the main cause of recent climate change — and the report sides with that view.

“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 says.

“Human activities are now the dominant cause of the observed changes in climate,” a later portion reads.

The study repeats past calls for huge emissions cuts

The report says the only way to avoid the worst of climate change is to take a huge bite out of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change is already affecting people

The study’s conclusions reinforce the accepted view of most scientists that climate change is already having an impact on humans, and that the impact will only grow as the planet keeps warming.

The report warns that extreme temperature and precipitation events are becoming increasingly common, both on the worldwide level — such as the global temperature records that have fallen in recent years — and in region-specific ways.

(Excerpted from The Hill 8/8/17