A new US climate change report is a wake-up call for US President Donald Trump to change his ways. Trump has called global warming a “hoax” and wants to cut the budget for climate change research. He withdrew from the Paris climate agreement and has appointed climate change sceptics as heads of departments that deal with environmental issues in the US. He has also promised to revive the coal industry.
However, the recent report, compiled by US government agencies and academics, is a slap in the face for the president.
The report concludes the current period is “now the warmest in the history of modern civilisation”, adding that it is “extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause”. There is no convincing alternative explanation, it says.
The White House responded by saying that “the magnitude of future climate change depends significantly on the uncertainty around the Earth’s sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions”. This is essentially an attempt to soften the impact of the report by saying that the climate is “always changing”.
All this might seem like a joke if not for the fact that, as the report points out, if we continue our ways, a global sea level rise of up to 2.4 metres by the end of the century cannot be ruled out. The study also warned of severe droughts and floods, along with more frequent wildfires and devastating storms.
It is easy to dismiss such claims as fear tactics but the effects of human activities on climate change cannot be ignored any more.
Those who believe Trump’s claims about global warming may be supporting his hidden agenda. It’s no secret that many American politicians receive money from oil companies for their election campaigns. Twenty-two Republican senators who urged Trump to withdraw from the Paris deal had collected more than US$10m in oil, gas and coal money since 2012, according to news reports.
Many say that environmental conservation and abolishing the coal industry will cause economic and social problems, but they don’t talk about the millions of jobs that will be created by the development of green industries.
As the world’s biggest fossil fuel consumer, the US has a responsibility to contribute to global efforts to save humanity.