While most of us were enjoying Thanksgiving turkey and spending time with family this weekend, the Trump administration decided to drop some very important information that could have slipped right under our noses. On Friday, Nov. 23, the Trump administration released the National Climate Assessment report, which assesses the current environmental state and the impact of climate change. If you're like me, you're probably asking what's in the National Climate Assessment report? Spoiler alert: it doesn't look pretty, and this timing is even worse.
On Friday, Nov. 23, the Trump administration decided to release the climate change report just one day after the Thanksgiving holiday. The 1,656 page report, which was issued by 13 federal agencies, concluded that we are currently living in the warmest temperatures in modern history, and lays out the effects on American life, from infrastructure to the economy to health issues. The report announced that climate change, and its impacts, could lead the United States' economy to lose hundreds of billions of dollars, or even 10 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by the end of this century. The report notes that even if greenhouse gas emissions dropped to nothing, temperatures would still consistently warm 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit, but, currently no G20 country is meeting the climate targets to combat climate change.
According to CNN, the federally mandated report was supposed to be released in December, but the Trump administration surprised everyone by releasing it in late November over the holiday weekend, when many people are spending time with family and may not be following the news. Since the report was released, social media have been calling out the Trump administration for their timing behind the report, with critics suggesting that the administration may be trying to bury the information since it goes against the administration's anti-global warming stance. In a statement to Elite Daily, a representative for the White House said that the report was “largely based on the most extreme scenario” of climate change which assumed "limited technology and innovation," and suggested that future editions of the report would have more opportunity for information on a "range of potential scenarios and outcomes." The White House did not immediately respond to questions regarding the timing of the report's release or if the administration planned any policy changes based on the findings.
The National Climate Assessment report is required by Congress and is released every four years, with researchers beginning work on the 2018 version shortly after the publication of the 2014 edition published under President Barack Obama, per the Times.
The National Climate Assessment report isn't the only startling news about climate change to surface recently. Monday, Oct. 8, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that claimed there's only 12 years left to limit climate change in order to avoid some majorly catastrophic environmental effects, such as extreme heat, droughts, and floods. Despite this report, Trump has frequently doubted that climate change is a man-made issue, even though according to NASA, there's a 95 percent chance that the current trend in global warming is man-made. Plus, 97 percent of climate scientists have agreed that climate change has been caused from "human activities" over the past few decades.
On Oct. 14, Trump spoke to Lesley Stahl about climate change on 60 Minutes. During the interview, Stahl asked Trump whether he still stands by his previous comments that climate change is a "hoax." In response, Trump admitted to Stahl that he acknowledges that "something is happening," but said he didn't know if it was man-made. He said,
I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's man-made.
Elite Daily reached out to the White House for any comment regarding Trump's view on climate change following the report's release, but did not hear back in time for publication.
No matter where you stand on climate change, it's important to study and be familiar with the topic. It might be time to hit the books, Mr. President.