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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.


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