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Government Report on Climate Change US Impacts at an Impasse

Scientists from 13 federal agencies finished drafting the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) in January. As a part of a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, the report details evidence on human involvement in climate change. Authors of the report accredit the climate science research to tens of thousands of scientists.

Included in the report are the following conclusions:

  • Americans are currently feeling the effects of climate change
  • The main cause of recently observed climate change is greenhouse gas emissions
  • Even if humans stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the average world temperature would still rise by 0.3 degrees Celsius
  • The world temperature is projected to rise as much as 2 degrees Celsius. This could result in longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms, and faster rates of coral bleaching

The Climate Science Special report makes great strides in climate research. It is a groundbreaking study, because it includes extensive evidence documenting the effect of human activities on global warming and climate change impacts in the US. While the report documents important advances in understanding these matters, there has not been much progress in the clearance process. That process depends only on approval from the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR), which is part of the US Global Change Research Program.  The SGCR was supposed to approve the CSSR by August 18th, but has yet to act. There has been no news about when the SGCR will act. Given this delay, the planned public release date of November 2017 will likely be pushed back as well.

According to a recent article, scientists explained to the New York Times that the draft report had been made available to the public out of fears that the Trump administration would suppress it by not approving its official release.