A new government report says that it is “extremely likely” that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming.
Per NPR, the 600-plus page Climate Science Special Report is the most comprehensive climate science study every conducted by United States government researchers. It shows that the global average temperature has risen 1.8 degree Fahrenheit over the last 115 years, making that period the “warmest in the history of modern civilization.”
The report is part of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which is required by an act of Congress. Its authors include academic scientists and experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and NASA. Its findings directly disprove earlier comments from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.
“I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do,” Pruitt said in an interview with CNBC in March. He also said, “I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
But the new report makes it clear that the earth will continue to heat up, and that how much the temperature creeps “will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally.” The authors also say that efforts to reduce emissions—like the Paris Agreement and the Clean Power Plan, which the current administration abandoned—could slow down global warming.
It also goes beyond its 2014 iteration to directly attribute weather changes—including extreme weather events like wildfires out west and hurricanes that tend to inordinately impact people of color and the poor—to global warming. Additionally, the experts point to the link between warming and increasingly heavy rainfall and coastal flooding, which are combining forces to push Native American communities and other folks who live in coastal communities (who are disproportionately people of color) inland.
The authors submitted the report, which drew on 1,500+ scientific studies, to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. NPR notes that no one is currently leading that office, as it is one of the last remaining senior positions that Trump has failed to fill. The full text of the report is not yet publically available.