Nov 21, 2018
Environmental groups, journalists, and climate scientists are reacting to the Trump administration's decision to release a major climate report the day after Thanksgiving--a move some are describing as an effort to bury an assessment packed with an "astonishing amount of science," and they are hoping to see that effort backfire "bigly."
"It's an absolute disgrace to bury the truth about climate impacts in a year that saw hundreds of Americans die during devastating climate-fueled megafires, hurricanes, floods, and algal blooms," said National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Collin O'Mara.
"Releasing the National Climate Assessment on Black Friday," he continued, "won't obscure the fact that authorities are still identifying bodies in California's unprecedented megafires, Florida is still dealing with toxic algae outbreaks fueled by warmer water, and Americans are still picking up the pieces from Hurricanes Florence and Michael and Typhoon Yutu that were worsened by climate change."
The report is the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment or NCA4, which NOAA says is designed to be "an authoritative assessment of the impacts of climate change on the U.S. and its territories, and was written to help decision-makers, utility and resource managers, public health officials, emergency planners, and other stakeholders better understand the effects of climate change on the United States." Volume one of the assessment was released last year.
As CNNreported, the assessment was expected to be released in December:
It's unclear why the date was moved up. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the Friday afternoon release on Wednesday--the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Among journalists and public relations experts, releasing information on Friday afternoon--not to mention Black Friday--or around a holiday is widely seen as a way to cushion the impact of critical news. The idea is that fewer people pay attention to news releases on the weekend, and by Monday, the news is old.
Given that situation, observers pounced on the timing:
\u201cThe US government's big new National Climate Assessment will be released on...\n\nthe day after Thanksgiving? \n\nHmmm....\n\nhttps://t.co/JUsSYjQl2Y\u201d— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes) 1542833325
Some noted that the report wil come on the heels of Trump's tweet confusing weather and climate to ignore science:
\u201cTrump is serving up climate science denialism less than 48 hours before the National Climate Assessment is released. The in-depth look at how climate change affects Americans, required by law, will be released 2pm ET on Black Friday to minimize coverage. https://t.co/PkX8PFmBjG\u201d— John Upton (@John Upton) 1542897442
\u201cIn two days, the fifth U. S. National #Climate Assessment will be released and Trump has just tweeted a statement so stupid that it was known to be garbage before the first Assessment was released decades ago.\u201d— Peter Gleick \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Peter Gleick \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1542867992
Others took the timing of the release as a call to action, and suggested reporters fill the weekend with coverage of the report and social media users dump the hashtag #BlackFriday in favor of #ClimateFriday in an effort to #EndClimateSilence:
\u201cCalling all #climateheros: the new US National Climate Assessment is being released on #BlackFriday, no doubt in an attempt to bury it. Let's make it #climatefriday and amplify this message!\u201d— Phil Loring @ConserveChange@fediscience.org (@Phil Loring @ConserveChange@fediscience.org) 1542829432
\u201cReporters! Editors! Your chance to confound Trump\u2019s climate fakers by filling the Thanksgiving weekend TV and print news hole with news from the National Climate Assessment. Don\u2019t let them bury it in the national tryptophan haze! (Used up my supply of !!!)\u201d— David Doniger (@David Doniger) 1542823523
-- Tessa Hill (@Tessa_M_Hill) November 21, 2018
\u201cIt\u2019s beyond disgraceful to bury the truth about climate impacts in a year where many Americans died during climate-fueled megafires, hurricanes, floods & algal blooms\n\nRT to urge news outlets to give the National Climate Assessmnt the attention it deserves\nhttps://t.co/2Hx32Pw8Sf\u201d— Collin O'Mara (@Collin O'Mara) 1542829071
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