Trump Disbands Panel That Fosters Understanding of Climate Change


Following his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement in June, the news today (21 August) that the Trump administration has disbanded the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment has saddened many. Since the last assessment was released in 2014, "stronger evidence has emerged for continuing, rapid human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean", according to the report. The charter for the 15-person committee, set up to develop guidelines for policymakers and officials on the basis of the government's National Climate Assessment, was scheduled to expire yesterday (August 20).

But the Assessment's findings are seen to contradict the views of the current administration, which just two months ago announced its intention to opt out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which announced the panel would not be renewed, said "this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority". The next report is scheduled for the next year.

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Part of that report, which has been detailed by the New York Times, notes that the average temperature in the US has grown dramatically since 1980.

Alan Townsend, vice chancellor for research at the University of Colorado Boulder, and James White, the former director of the university's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and current dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences, spoke with Colorado Matters about the report and other climate change news.

Kim Knowlton, a senior climate scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and one of the members of the committee, also told in a phone interview that she was disheartened by the news that the group would be disbanded.

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The federal report, required every four years, provides a comprehensive statement from the scientific community on where the nation stands in relation to climate change. He recently signed an executive order overturning a federal requirement that projects built in coastal floodplains and receiving federal aid should take projected sea-level rises into account.

That's a relief, but it doesn't mean Trump and his cronies aren't taking proactive steps to dismantle climate change protections.

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