WASHINGTON — A significant federal government study released Friday finds “no convincing alternative explanation” for the changing climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases.”
When drafts of the report were circulated earlier this year, some participants voiced concern that President Donald Trump’s administration would seek to somehow interfere with the report, due to skepticism from Trump and others in his administration about climate science. Trump has nominated climate skeptics to top Environmental Protection Agency posts, and his administration has actively worked to dismantle climate protections, along with pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
But the study released Friday spoke specifically to the effects and costs of climate change.
“This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence,” the report said.
Warming temperatures globally, rising sea levels, more frequent heat waves and increased numbers of forest fires are evidence of the changing climate, the report stated.
The Climate Science Special Report is required by federal law and includes contributions from multiple government agencies and non-government academic experts. The report is a component of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
“The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally,” the report said.
The Trump administration has indicated multiple times that climate change is not one of its priorities. Trump has previously labeled climate change a “hoax.”
In addition to the administration’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the EPA did not include climate change in its recent strategic plan, has moved to overturn the landmark Clean Power Plan, and has dropped experts from advisory panels.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed organizing teams to debate climate science.
But the White House said Friday it “supports rigorous scientific analysis and debate.”
“The climate has changed and is always changing,” spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. “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.”