- The Trump Administration just released a report that says there’s strong evidence for ‘continuing, rapid, human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean.’
- The scientific report is required by law, and must be submitted to Congress once every four years.
- The findings conflict with the climate change-denying language President Trump and many of his advisors have used, but the results align with what scientists have been documenting for years.
The US federal government just released its latest research on climate change, and the findings are conclusive:
“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,'” it says.
The 15-chapter US Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report was released on Friday. The Trump Administration greenlit the document, which includes scientific findings from agencies across the federal government.
The National Climate Assessment report is required by law every four years, and is essentially a roundup of the latest federal findings on how the planet is doing. The news in the new report doesn’t look good for the Earth. Since its last assessment, the team behind the report found that even “stronger evidence has emerged for continuing, rapid, human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean.”
Here are six of the key takeaways from the report:
- This is the warmest period in the history of modern civilisation. The report says “averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years.”
- Human-fuelled climate change is responsible for this warming. “There is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence,” the report says.
- Extreme weather events are on the rise. The report cites heavy rainfall, heatwaves, wildfires, sea-level rise and reduced snowpack as examples of this trend — all of which experts expect will continue and worsen. “Assuming no change to current water resources management, chronic, long-duration hydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century,” the authors write.
- Sea levels are expected to rise “by at least several inches” in the next 15 years, and up to 4 feet higher than they are now by 2100.
- It’s hot, and only getting hotter. The report says that without further action to reduce carbon emissions, average annual global temperatures could be nine degrees Farenheit hotter than they were in pre-industrial times by the end of the century.
- There’s an even bigger risk of surprise, irreversible climate events. The more the Earth warms, the greater the risk of what the report calls “extreme climate events” which can happen in single “tipping point events” and also in “compound events” (such as heat, drought, wildfires and flooding.) These could result in abrupt, irreversible changes to the world climate as we know it.
The report stands in direct contrast to the statements of top officials in the Trump Administration, who continue to express doubts about the scientific consensus on the Earth’s climate.
Just earlier this week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt moved to ban research scientists who have won EPA grants under previous administrations from serving on the EPA’s independent advisory boards.
President Trump himself has called climate change an “expensive hoax”. Earlier this year he moved to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was created to reduce global carbon emissions. In October, Nicaragua joined that global compact leaving the U.S. and Syria as the only two countries who do not plan to be permanent members of the treaty.
Federal law requires US government agencies to report to Congress on their current knowledge about the economic, environmental, health, and safety consequences of climate change. The new report is designed to give lawmakers and the president the most recent facts and figures in order to help them make informed decisions about how to address our changing climate.
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