U.S. government report blames humans for global climate change

By Brooks Hays  |  Nov. 3, 2017 at 4:03 PM
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Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Humans are to blame to for global warming, according to the most comprehensive climate change report yet produced by the federal government.

The 600-page report is unambiguous and contradicts many of the Trump administration's positions and talking points on climate change.

Since taking office, Trump and Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, have downplayed the severity and certainty of global warming.

"I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this year. "There's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact."

The latest report strikes a different tone.

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," researchers write in the report. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence."

The first volume of the National Climate Assessment, titled "Climate Science Special Report," is legally mandated, and the Trump administration did not attempt to stop its publication.

The report was prepared by thousands of scientists from a range of academic and research institutions and was peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. It is intended to inform decisions made by Congress and the federal government, but it's unclear whether the Trump administration will lend it any credence.

"This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies," Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, told the New York Times. "It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They're obviously not getting it from their own scientists."

The report points to the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests as the primary causes of the nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit of warming over the last century. It also blames man-made climate change for increases in extreme weather events, including larger tropical storms, rising sea levels, coastal flooding, prolonged droughts and dangerous heatwaves.

"The frequency and intensity of extreme high temperature events are virtually certain to increase in the future as global temperature increases," the report reads. "Extreme precipitation events will very likely continue to increase in frequency and intensity throughout most of the world."

The Trump administration has already voiced their intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which includes targets for greenhouse gas reductions in participating countries. But according to the latest report, dramatically curbing emissions offers the only possible solution to the problem of climate change.

Topics: Scott Pruitt
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