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Horowitz: National Climate Change Report Highlights Need for Action

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 

Rob Horowitz

Understandably concerned that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt would either bury their findings or dilute them with edits not based on the science, some of the people involved in producing the National Climate Change Assessment, leaked a draft of a report that is slated to be part of the assessment to the New York Times last week.  It asserts that the evidence that the planet is rapidly heating-up and that the major cause is human activity has only grown stronger since the last report was released in 2013: “…stronger evidence has emerged for continued, rapid human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean. This report concludes that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming, over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the observational evidence.”

Additionally, the report claims that the evidence is now sufficient to establish a causal link between the rise in global temperatures and the stepped-up extreme weather events we are experiencing. This report was thoroughly peer-reviewed and has received the support of the National Academy of Sciences.  Required by an Act of Congress, the National Climate Assessment is produced every four years.

Scott Pruitt’s initial public reaction to the release of the draft confirms that climate scientists were right to be concerned about political interference.  Pruitt, who actively pushed to get Trump to withdraw from the Paris Global Climate Change Agreement and has repeatedly said he doesn’t think carbon dioxide is the main contributor to the increase in global temperatures, told a Texas Radio station as reported by Politico, “Frankly this report ought to be subjected to peer-reviewed, objective-reviewed methodology and evaluation. Science should not be politicized. Science is not something that should be just thrown about to try to dictate policy in Washington, D.C.”  

The report, of course, has already been peer reviewed. As a committed climate change skeptic with deep ties to the oil industry, Pruitt just doesn’t like its conclusions.

This report provides President Trump with a compelling reason to at least re-calibrate his all- out efforts to roll back President Obama’s climate change initiatives.  But, expecting Trump or Pruitt to change their highly destructive course based on evidence and facts is the definition of wishful thinking.  

The report will give the states, cities and businesses who are effectively stepping up to fill the void left by the retreat of the federal government, added impetus to re-double their efforts.  Together, these entities can enable us to meet the goals we committed to in Paris despite the actions of the Trump Administration.  This is a problem that can actually be solved from the bottom-up.  That is a good thing, because all indications are that as long as Trump is President it will have to be.

 

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.

 

Related Slideshow: RI Democrats React to Trump Withdrawing from Paris Climate Agreement

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Gina Raimondo

RI Governor

I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It’s about opportunity, stewardship and America’s standing as a global leader. 

President Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy. 

We’ve set a goal to secure 1,000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue toward with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process. 

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Jim Langevin 

U.S. Congressman

President Trump’s ill-considered decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the future of our entire planet at risk. The withdrawal represents an abandonment of pledges to protect our environment and risks undermining the entire accord, which includes nearly every country on earth. In addition, the President’s action cedes Unites States leadership and means losing a seat at the table to negotiate global agreements in our country's best interest.

The Obama Administration made significant progress toward slowing the rapidly warming climate by negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions on a global scale. Unwinding these commitments represents another assault by President Trump on the health of the public and the planet. His Administration continues to deny climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows this is an ongoing human-caused crisis.

Rhode Island is on the front lines of sea level rise, and our citizens will ultimately pay the price for inaction today. Communities like my hometown of Warwick are particularly vulnerable to the storms and floods that come with climate change. Warming seas have chased our traditional catch out of our fisheries and threaten to decimate our beloved Ocean State coastline. Abandoning the Paris deal, the culmination of a multi-year effort by world leaders, is an abdication of our responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children.”

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Sheldon Whitehouse

U.S. Senator

“Donald Trump and his children said just a few years ago that climate change was ‘irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic and irreversible.’ They were right. There is no denying the growing threat of rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets. 

But we can still avoid the worst if we quickly reduce carbon emissions. That is why ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could do down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the U.S. further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip. 

Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation. It’s Sad. 

America’s biggest corporations and investors urged the President to stick with international efforts to address the climate threat. They and all of us will now have to proceed with a seriousness of purpose commensurate with the threat, knowing of this President’s grave defects. 

If you haven’t joined an environmental group, join one. If your voice needs to be heard, get active. If you are a big corporation with good climate policies that has shied away from engaging politically, it’s time to engage. And if you’re a university that teaches climate science, it’s time to stand up for your scientists. Whoever you are, help end climate denial and take action.”

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Jack Reed

U.S. Senator

“President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a blow to the environment that makes us a less secure nation. Our military, which spends every hour of every day thinking about how to protect Americans says climate change is a problem and a real threat multiplier. Indeed, climate change is an established part of the military’s threat and risk assessments.

The United States should continue to be a leader when it comes to protecting the planet; instead, the President is abdicating this responsibility. President Trump is unwisely putting the United States alongside Syria and Nicaragua in declining to be part of the Paris agreement. 

The American people deserve better.” 

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David Cicilline

U.S. Congressman

The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a terrible mistake. It will diminish American leadership in the world, undermine our ability to create good-paying jobs, and contribute to the further degradation of our environment. 

It is very disappointing that we now know, without question, that the President of the United Sates is a climate change denier. His decision today ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the serious consequences failing to address climate change. 

The only thing President Trump will accomplish by this decision is to set the United States and world back decades in this fight. I have no doubt that future generations are going to wonder what the hell we were thinking today”

 
 

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