The conclusions contained in a draft federal report on climate change are unequivocal: Human-induced global warming is real, and left unchecked, the consequences could be dire.
Although not new, the findings are at odds with claims by President Trump and members of his administration, who continue to assert that the extent of the human contribution to climate change is not clear.
In June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement reached in Paris in 2015, in which nearly 200 countries pledged to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, saying the deal was bad for the country.
The report’s authors, however, say the factors driving climate change are quite clear.
“Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes over the last 15 decades,” the authors wrote. “There are no alternative explanations.”
The report, a synthesis of the available science prepared by 13 government agencies, is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by Congress and is supposed to be published every four years.
The latest draft has been extensively reviewed, and the authors are waiting for permission from the Trump administration to release the report to the public — which probably explains why it was leaked to the New York Times.
“We have not received any indication yet that it is not on schedule for publication,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of political science at Texas Tech University and one of the lead authors of the report. “But understandably there are fears that it won’t be approved, or that it could be…
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