Climate Report Full of Warnings Awaits President

In Environment On
- Updated

WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

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Human activity, the report goes on to say, is a primary culprit.

The study does not make policy recommendations, but it notes that stabilizing the global mean temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius — what scientists have referred to as the guardrail beyond which changes become catastrophic — will require significant reductions in global levels of carbon dioxide.

Nearly 200 nations agreed as part of the Paris accords to limit or cut fossil fuel emissions. If countries make good on those promises, the federal report says, that will be a key step toward keeping global warming at manageable levels.

Mr. Trump announced this year that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, saying the deal was bad for America.

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Trump Has Choice to Make Between Science and His Base

Since taking office, Mr. Trump and his advisers have argued that the global fight against climate change is a threat to the American economy. In his speech withdrawing from the Paris accord, the president said the agreement imposes “draconian financial and economic burdens” that are “unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.”

Mr. Trump could quietly publish the special report this year and the broader assessment when the final version is due in 2018. He could also make the case that the findings should be tempered by the economic effects that fighting climate change could have on American workers and businesses.

Or, as some scientists fear, he could try to alter or suppress the special report before it is actually released.

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