Trump’s Climate Science: EPA’s Latest Muzzle

Trump’s Climate Science: EPA’s Latest Muzzle

The latest is this memo (below) to the EPA requiring them to deliberately confuse the scientific position on climate change. It was supposedly written by Joel D. Scheraga, EPA Senior Adviser for Climate Adaptation. Scheraga was on the team that produced President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan and was a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Why did he (supposedly) write this memo that says:

  • Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.
  • While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.
  • As a key regulatory voice, it is important for the Agency to strive for a better understanding of these gaps given their potential significant influence on our country’s domestic economic viability.
  • Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science.

These are not the words of the Nobel Laureate given this award that states:

Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent.

The Summary for Policy Makers for the 2007 report that the Nobel Prize was awarded for says:

The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the TAR [Third Assessment Report], leading to very high confidence that the global average net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m–2 [equal to about 0.6 degrees C].

Why did Scheraga send this memo?

Scheraga was one of seven principle authors to a World Health Orginization (WHO) 2003 report, where page two of chapter one of this 333 page report says:

There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is likely to be attributable to human activities, most importantly the release of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

An entry by Scheraga in the EPA blog from April 24, 2015 says:

We must take action now to protect public health, the environment and the economy. We have an opportunity to slow the rate of climate change and make it more manageable by cutting emissions of the carbon pollution that contributes to global warming.

From the Aspen Global Change Institute biography of Dr Scheraga: “Dr. Scheraga was a Lead Author of the 1997 IPCC North American Regional Assessment . In 1995, he was a Contributing Author to the Working Group II chapter on “Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations” that appeared in the IPCC Second Assessment Report. He also served as an Expert Reviewer of the Second Assessment Report. And he served as an Assisting Lead Author for the 1994 IPCC Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations. Dr. Scheraga was Chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Assessment Workgroup from 2000-2002 and Vice Chair from 1998-2000.”

Why is this distinguished climate scientist tellingthe EPA to present climate science to the public as it is “subject to continuing debate and dialogue” and that “clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it”?

Is it because climate change really is now all smoke and mirrors as the Trump administration and his appointees state? We could only hope so.

Tell your friends.

The memo:

Dear Colleagues:

During the recent meeting of our Cross-EPA Work Group on Climate Adaptation, several individuals suggested it would be helpful to develop consistent messages about EPA’s climate adaptation efforts that could be used across all Program and Regional Offices. I’m pleased to report that the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) has developed a set of talking points about climate change that include several related to climate adaptation. These talking points were distributed today by Nancy Grantham (OPA) to the Communications Directors and the Regional Public Affairs Directors.

The following are the talking points distributed by OPA. I have highlighted those relating specifically to our adaptation work.

  • EPA recognizes the challenges that communities face in adapting to a changing climate.
  • EPA works with state, local, and tribal governments to improve infrastructure to protect against the consequences of climate change and natural disasters.
  • EPA also promotes science that helps inform states, municipalities, and tribes on how to plan for and respond to extreme events and environmental emergencies.
  • Moving forward, EPA will continue to advance its climate adaptation efforts, and has reconvened the cross-EPA Adaptation Working Group in support of those efforts.
  • Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.
  • While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.
  • As a key regulatory voice, it is important for the Agency to strive for a better understanding of these gaps given their potential significant influence on our country’s domestic economic viability
  • Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science.

Best regards,

Joel

Joel D. Scheraga, Ph.D

Senior Advisor for Climate Adaptation

Office of Policy