Not really. However, the White House did approve the newly-released Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), which unequivocally states that climate change is real, caused by humans, and rapidly progressing.
Carbon emissions are the major driver of climate change.
Though scientists have warning us for decades that climate change is a very real threat to the planet, there are those who think that all those studies, numbers, and projections all compose a myth. A number of those in US President Donald Trump’s administration, including Donald Trump himself, are among those who seem to disbelieve that climate change is real. Trump and his cohorts, even before he was elected president, have been downplaying the effects of climate change, in spite of mounting evidence of the significant impact of climate change.
As a result, the Trump administration has equivocated on climate change issues, rolled back Obama-era policies placed to curb carbon emissions, and has even withdrawn the US from the Paris agreement. Thus, in a lot of ways, the Trump administration and the scientific community aren’t exactly seeing eye to eye.
The effects of climate change [Images (left to right) by Mellimage/Shutterstock, Montree Hanlue/Shutterstock, and NASA]
According to the report, “[t]here is broad consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some of which are potentially large and irreversible.”
The CSSR, which was released on November 3rd, is a 470-page government report that evaluated existing evidence on climate change and its effects. The findings of the report came in the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which reviews the current evidence that climate science can offer.
There is no equivocation or uncertainty in the findings of the report: climate change is real, and its impacts include more powerful storms, as well as droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that have become more intense and frequent.
The White House’s response to the report? “The climate has changed and is always changing,” said White House spokesperson Raj Shah in a statement.
Technically, Shah is correct. Climate does indeed naturally change. However, it doesn’t naturally change the way it has been changing in more recent times. “This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization,” says Katherine Heyhoe, one of the authors of the report. “Almost every year we’re learning that the impacts of climate change are coming faster and are worse than expected,”
Heyhoe also stressed that human activities--not just “natural processes”--are the prime culprit for climate change in the modern times.
Rick Perry addressing staff at the Energy Department headquarters [Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images]
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, however, doesn’t agree with the anthropogenic nature of climate change. “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in,” Perry says to counter claims that human activities are causing climate change (and yes, they are).
President Trump, meanwhile, has called climate change a hoax. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, in turn, told reporters earlier this year that federal spending on climate science is “a waste of your money.”
Obviously, there’s a glaring difference in the findings of the CSSR and the claims and beliefs of the Trump administration itself. The term “climate change” itself also seems to have become anathema to this administration, as evidenced in emails by senior US Department of Agriculture officials telling their scientists to avoid using the phrase.
Why is this administration seemingly so dead set against admitting and accepting that climate change is real? It may be imprudent to guess, but we can surely say that whatever this administration’s agenda is, it’s very likely that it’s not environmental protection.
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