With Climate Science on the March, an Isolated Trump Hunkers Down
USA TODAY, Just the FAQs CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN MORE WASHINGTON – The Democratic chairman of a key congressional panel Tuesday characterized the Trump administration's latest efforts to challenge the science behind climate change as "dangerous." The comments by Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing federal climate funding, came amid news reports that White House officials are putting together a national security advisory panel aimed at countering the science behind human-caused global warming.
E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Pollution Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its MathNorman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group, said that it was common for the White House to vet agency testimony to Congress to ensure it did not contradict administration policy.But, he said, “I have never heard of basic facts being deleted from or blocked from testimony.” Mr. Ornstein said withholding the analyst’s written testimony was significant. A verbal presentation could be interpreted as an individual’s position, he said, but “the written testimony is a more formal expression of a department.”
The Washington Post first reported the effort to suppress Dr. Schoonover’s testimony. On almost every page of Dr. Schoonover’s testimony, the National Security Council offered comments and criticisms, according to a document that tracks changes. Two people familiar with the document said the notes were from William Happer, a physicist and White House adviser on the council who denies the established scientific consensus on global warming. “This is not objective testimony at all,” one comment read. “It includes lots of climate alarm propaganda that is not science at all. I am embarrassed to have this go out on behalf of the executive branch of the Federal Government.”Another comment objects to the phrase “tipping point” to describe when the planet reaches a threshold of irreversible climate change. “‘Tipping points’ is a propaganda slogan for the scientifically illiterate,” the comment reads. “They were a favorite of Al Gore’s science adviser, James Hansen.”
In the Amazon, 1% of tree species sequester 50% of the region’s carbon.
Dr. Schoonover’s testimony noted that his analysis drew from peer-reviewed scientific journals and work produced by top United States government scientists. That, too, came under attack from the National Security Council, which said that “a consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with the truth.”But the heaviest proposed edits, and the basis for ultimately blocking the written testimony, came from the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. That office, according to the document, recommended eliminating five pages of science that appeared under the headings “Scientific Baseline” and “Stresses to Human and Societal Systems.”
Those pages laid the scientific foundation for the rest of Dr. Schoonover’s testimony, which described the various national security threats linked to climate change, like instability from water shortages in some parts of the world.The science portion offered factual assertions like, “The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend as established by decades of scientific measurements from multiple, independent lines of evidence.” It also noted that the past five years had been the warmest five on record.
Rising temperatures are affecting wildlife and their habitats. Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, where some populations on the western peninsula have collapsed by 90 percent or more.