Trump Administration Foot Dragging on Next National Climate Assessment

Graphic: Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

The next National Climate Assessment is supposed to be released in 2022, but it may be delayed because the Trump Administration is slowing the work by the interagency science group that prepares it, E&ENews reported yesterday.  According to reporting by Scott Waldman, “Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois who co-led the first volume of the fourth National Climate Assessment, said the Trump administration is late in putting out a call in the Federal Register for researchers to produce the fifth version.”  The report is required to be prepared by law — but the Trump Administration leaders are seemingly dragging their feet in getting work on the next one underway.

Why This Matters:  These climate assessments are prepared every four years and provide the major description of what the U.S. can expect from climate change broken down by both region and economic sector.  The National Climate Assessment is a carefully crafted document involving dozens of experts and it is backed by hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and summarizes the research produced by the world’s top science agencies.  Without it we will not stop climate change or its impacts, we will just be unable to prepare for them.  The President and this Administration continue to endanger the lives of Americans without a care.

The Fourth Assessment

The Fourth National Climate Assessment came out in 2017-18 and was dubbed the Black Friday Report because the Administration released it on the day after Thanksgiving in an effort to minimize the press around it and keep it under wraps.  E&E News reported that William Happer, a former senior director in the National Security Council, President Trump was “angry” after the Report’s release — the report did get a great deal of press despite the efforts to bury it.  The President later said he did not believe its findings and conclusions.

The Fifth Assessment Delay and Denial

As we reported last week, the White House recently hired climate deniers and critics to fill senior roles at NOAA by promising them a chance to shape major work by the agency, such as the production of the next National Climate Assessment.  David Legates, who in a July op-ed in The Christian Post said that “restricting carbon dioxide will have little impact on our climate.”  Sources told E&E News that Legates was specifically recruited to shape the next climate assessment so that it can present “a version of climate science as being less alarming.”



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