'Bombshell' Climate Report, Part 5,743,865
Leftist holdovers are working overtime to demonize the Trump administration's work.
On Friday, the fourth edition of the Climate Science Special Report was officially unveiled. In summary, “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” according to the report. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”
Recall back in August when The New York Times claimed to have procured a draft copy that it asserted “has not yet been made public.” This was false — the draft had long been up for public review, which the Times later clarified — but it helped support the premise supplied by the Times’ headline: “Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report.”
As we reported at the time, this now-demonstrably fake news bolstered the narrative two-fold: It furthered the Times’ agenda of portraying Donald Trump as a Neanderthal who “could change or suppress the report” without the public’s knowledge, and it also helped portray ecofascists as brave whistleblowers who had no choice but to “leak” a report to save humanity. In reality, the report formally went out without a hitch. But hey — narrative!
According to CBS, “The Trump administration did not seek to block its release, but the conclusion directly contradicts statements made by senior members of his cabinet.” That’s the difference between the Obama and Trump administrations — the former pulled out all the stops to suppress every little thing with which it disagreed, while the latter respects debate and the Rule of Law. There are many ways to question and counter causation without pulling out an executive order, a practice that became Barack Obama’s modus operandi. As Trump spokesman Raj Shah put it, “The Administration supports rigorous scientific analysis and debate and encourages public comment on the draft documents being released today.”
Interestingly, not everyone on the Left agrees wholeheartedly with the report — and not because it lacks sensationalism. Even an Obama-era official is calling into question some of the report’s findings. Physicist Steven E. Koonin, former undersecretary of energy under Obama, addresses two specific issues in The Wall Street Journal, where he writes:
One notable example of alarm-raising is the description of sea-level rise, one of the greatest climate concerns. The report ominously notes that while global sea level rose an average 0.05 inch a year during most of the 20th century, it has risen at about twice that rate since 1993. But it fails to mention that the rate fluctuated by comparable amounts several times during the 20th century. The same research papers the report cites show that recent rates are statistically indistinguishable from peak rates earlier in the 20th century, when human influences on the climate were much smaller. The report thus misleads by omission.
This isn’t the only example of highlighting a recent trend but failing to place it in complete historical context. The report’s executive summary declares that U.S. heat waves have become more common since the mid-1960s, although acknowledging the 1930s Dust Bowl as the peak period for extreme heat. Yet buried deep in the report is a figure showing that heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900. This artifice also appeared in the government’s 2014 National Climate Assessment, which emphasized a post-1980 increase in hurricane power without discussing the longer-term record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently stated that it has been unable to detect any human impact on hurricanes.
Koonin rightly calls this dichotomy “the difference between science and advocacy.” It’s not like anything in this report is “news.” If anything, it’s a regurgitation of what we’ve been hearing for decades, only with fresh data and enhanced alarm. The report also should not be interpreted as a Trump administration flip-flop, as many of these agencies are controlled by career activists. More importantly, Trump officials — particularly EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — are enacting policies that jettison the agenda being propagated by climate activists. It’s for that reason climate reports will be sensationalized further in the years ahead, as holdovers work to demonize the Trump administration’s work.