Trump administration orders government agency to stop predicting long-term climate change impacts

White House condemned for 'blatant attempt' to politicise global warming science

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 28 May 2019 11:53
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The Trump administration has told a major US government department to end predicting what the long-term effects of climate change will be on the country.

Director of the US Geological Survey (USGS) James Reilly – a White House-appointed former oil geologist – ordered that scientific assessments only use computer-generated models that track the possible impact of climate change until 2040, according to The New York Times.

Previously the USGS modelled effects until the end of the century, the second half of which is likely to see the most dramatic impacts of global warming.

The order is likely to impact the US government’s National Climate Assessment, an interagency report produced every four years which outlines the projected impact of climate change in every corner of US society.

In the most recent report, produced late last year and dismissed by Mr Trump, scientists used computer models to predict the US would face devastating economic and health impacts from global warming by the end of the century.

In the next report, due for release in 2021 or 2022, worst-case scenario predictions will not automatically be included, in what one climate scientist, Philip Duffy of the Woods Hole Research Center, said was a “blatant attempt” to politicise science.

The move is just the latest in a concerted attempt by the Trump White House to undermine climate science and challenge attempts to address runaway warming, which is posing an existential threat to much of life on Earth.

Earlier this year, leaked documents revealed Mr Trump’s administration was creating a panel to challenge climate threat assessments, headed by a climate change denier who once compared the “demonisation” of carbon dioxide to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

William Happer, who also serves on Mr Trump’s national security council, is a beneficiary of Robert Mercer, a far-right billionaire who funds climate denialism.

Mr Trump has regularly mocked global warming, having repeatedly called for more of it during periods of cold weather.

One of his first moves as president was to unilaterally withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, making it now the only country on Earth in opposition to the accords.

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