We often talk about climate change as a far-off problem that will affect our children and grandchildren, but climate change is already affecting Americans right now, according to a U.S. government report published on Tuesday by The New York Times.
The report, which has been endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, says it is "extremely likely" humans have been the chief cause of the global warming since the middle of the last century.
The study "directly contradicts claims" from Trump and some in his cabinet, the Times wrote, because they "say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain and that the ability to predict the effects is limited". A draft for this year's report has already been submitted to the Trump administration for approval before it can be made public.
Back in June, Trump took the United States out of the Paris climate change accord while defending the move as being in support of American workers and it being something poorly negotiated by former President Barack Obama.
By law, federal agencies must produce a combined Climate Science Special Report at least every five years.
A leaked draft of a major federal government climate change report has concluded that the USA will face dire consequences if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced.
Administration officials, including Mr. Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and others, routinely have said they believe the climate is changing and that man has had an impact, but they've stopped short of saying humans are the primary driver of global warming. President Trump becoming the savior of intellectual honesty on the right on climate change wouldn't be the weirdest thing to happen in American politics, but it'd be close. The scientists who worked on it clearly wanted to make sure their findings weren't bottled up or rewritten by the climate change deniers who populate Trump's administration.
Trump has both supported and rejected the concept of human-caused climate change.
The New York Times and the Associated Press obtained the draft report, which was widely circulated in December to scientists for review.
"We're in some uncharted waters here", said an author of the report who asked not to be named. After all, at the rate land and sea ice is melting in the Arctic, sea levels are bound to rise and threaten America's coastal communities. At the same time, heavy precipitation events in the USA have increased in both intensity and frequency since the beginning of the 20 century - especially for the Northeast. Meteorologists have recorded increasingly warmer temperatures since the 1960s, and heat waves are now more common than streaks of stinging cold weather.