The federal government on Friday released a long-awaited report with an unmistakable message: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening.
The report adds to an ever-growing, all-but-irrefutable body of scientific research that shows climate change is real and driven by human carbon emissions ― a reality that President Donald Trump and his team refuse to accept as they pursue a fossil fuel-focused "energy dominance" agenda.
"Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the west, hurricanes batter our coasts - and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical US assessment of the climate crisis", he said.
The National Climate Assessment finds that extreme weather disasters "have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration and have cost the the USA almost $400 billion since 2015".
The report, which is mandated by law, "concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans' physical, social, and economic well-being are rising".
And Donald Wuebbles, a co-author from University of IL climate scientist, said, "We're going to continue to see severe weather events get stronger and more intense".
The report said climate change was "presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth".
The studies clash with policy under President Donald Trump, who has been rolling back Obama-era environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels, including crude oil, already the highest in the world, above Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.
While scientists talk of average global temperatures, people feel extremes more, he said.
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By the end of the century, the United States will be 1.6 to 6.6C hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns.
The report's authors, who represent more than a dozen federal agencies, detail expected economic impact.
Earlier this week Trump mocked climate science, tweeting about cold weather in the Northeast and asking "Whatever happened to Global Warming?"
Friday's (Saturday NZT) report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: "Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity".
After taking office he announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which commits another 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels.
The report was initially set to be released in December.
Study co-author Andrew Light, an worldwide policy expert at the World Resources Institute, told The Associated Press that the release " "is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying but suppressing the best of climate science". Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing were "relevant", but said what was in the report was more important.
"Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today", it says.