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Why Did Trump Release a Report Confirming Climate Change Is Real?

The 477-page National Climate Assessment, which was mandated by Congress and reviewed by 13 federal agencies, conflicted with President Trump's notorious stance on global warming as a "hoax."

Why did the Trump White House release a report contradicting the president and much of his administration's stance on climate change? (Photo: U.S. Global Change Research Program)

Last Friday, the White House stunned many after it released a sweeping report concluding that climate change is not only real, but it also poses as a major threat to the U.S. and humans are "extremely likely" to be responsible.

The 477-page National Climate Assessment, which was mandated by Congress and reviewed by 13 federal agencies, conflicted with President Trump's notorious stance on global warming as a "hoax." It also defied Trump's continued efforts to dismantle environmental regulations on both the national and international scale.

So why did the Trump White House release a report contradicting the president and much of his administration's stance on climate change?

Well, as Bloomberg reports, "don't read much into it":

Public drafts of the report have circulated for months, making it politically perilous to tinker with the findings. So, with editing a high-risk affair and the report required by Congress, the administration may have just decided to downplay it, said John Holdren, who ran the Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.

"It would do more harm to block this report than to let it out," Holdren, now a Harvard University environmental policy professor, said in an interview. "They're letting it out on a Friday afternoon, which is pretty much the standard approach for letting out something that you don't want to get a lot of attention."

The other reason? Blame Obama. The report has been in the works since 2015.

"It is unfortunate that the Trump Administration has released these Obama-era climate reports, without attempting to remove the junk science—and the reports are full of junk science," fervent climate change denier and former Trump EPA transition team leader Myron Ebell told Bloomberg.

The White House has also distanced itself from the main conclusion of the special report. In a Friday statement, White House spokesperson Raj Shah used familiar climate-skeptic talking points to dismiss the findings.

"The climate has changed and is always changing. As the Climate Science Special Report states, the magnitude of future climate change depends significantly on 'remaining uncertainty in the sensitivity of Earth's climate to [greenhouse gas] emissions,'" Shah said. "In the United States, energy related carbon dioxide emissions have been declining, are expected to remain flat through 2040, and will also continue to decline as a share of world emissions."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ( EPA) has removed the phrase "climate change" from its websites and has prohibited its own scientists from speaking about the issue.

Additionally, Common Dreams reported on Saturday that President Trump is looking to use the COP23 climate talks as a platform to sell fossil fuels—and coal in particular—as necessary and beneficial.

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Lorraine Chow

Lorraine Chow is a freelance writer for EcoWatch

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