Monday, January 08, 2018

Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, but It's Hitting Some Limits

A Special Report on Climate Science (Credit: NOAA) Click to Enlarge.
Last year, the administration signed off on a comprehensive, government-wide update of the mainstream science that clearly says humans have contributed to atmospheric warming.

Then there were rumblings that Scott Pruitt's "red team, blue team" review of climate science could be put on ice.  That could stymie calls to overturn the "endangerment finding" that authorizes climate action under the Clean Air Act.

Finally, climate hawks in the Senate are rallying to defeat Trump's proposed appointment of Kathleen Hartnett White, who considers carbon dioxide the "gas of life," as head of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Still, the pervasive culture of denialism within the administration has enabled the rollback or attempted rollback of dozens of regulations meant to protect public health, safety and the environment through an astonishingly speedy assault that has demoralized EPA workers and prompted hundreds to flee the agency.
Unfortunately for those who want to dismantle the endangerment finding, there's the most recent National Climate Assessment's Climate Science Special Report, released this fall, which affirmed that human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change.  The report, mandated by law, requires the administration to sign off on it.  And while many critics of the administration worried about possible tinkering with the findings in the report, its conclusions were unvarnished.

That the government signed off on the most robust, comprehensive report of its kind—one that upholds the conclusion of mainstream scientists—will make it nearly impossible to unravel the government's position, despite the rhetoric from the administration.

"For one thing, this summarizes new and stronger evidence for human causation of climate change, and discusses dangerous impacts," said Philip Duffy, executive director of the Woods Hole Research Center, who was a member of the committee that reviewed the report.

"We've learned a lot about this since the original endangerment finding, nearly 10 years ago," he said.  "Beyond this, the report was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences and approved by 13 federal agencies, so it has a strong pedigree and a lot of credibility."

Read more at Climate Denial Pervades the Trump White House, but It's Hitting Some Limits

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