The Trump Administration’s latest onslaught on climate science has the National Climate Assessment Report in its crosshairs.
The quadrennial report is compiled by 13 US government agencies and reports on the impact of human-caused global warming in the United States. The most recent report was released in 2018 and called America’s economy, health, and safety “increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change”.
The report also outlines worst-case scenarios 100 years into the future. Last year’s edition projected that climate change would impact every region of the country through ocean acidification, crop failure, and an increase in wildfires.
At-odds with their own stance on climate change, the White House is working to cut worst-case scenarios in future reports and limit the US Geological Survey from projecting out further than 2040.
Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson James Hewitt rationalized the move by saying, “The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future.”
Philip B. Duffy, a climate change physicist who reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment, combatted the decision by calling it “a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science—to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics.”
The White House also has plans to organize a counter-review of the National Climate Assessment’s findings. The leader of said review is rumored to be William Happer, a physicist with no climate science background and who once said, “demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”