Dhaka, Bangladesh
Climate science under assault

Climate science under assault

A new study has concluded that last summer’s record-breaking heat wave in Japan, which resulted in more than 1,000 deaths, was the result in part of human-induced global warming. Moreover, the authors warn, if temperatures continue to rise, extreme heat will become “a usual situation” in Japan within a few decades, and the number of such days will nearly double current levels. In the face of this alarming trend, it is imperative that the world better understand every cause and consequence of global warming. Yet the United States is not only downplaying the significance of climate change, but is taking steps to suppress efforts to understand it. Since its inception, the administration of US President Donald Trump has been skeptical of, if not openly hostile to, the argument that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. The administration’s approach to climate change was made plain by Vice President Mike Pence who, when asked about the national security impact of human-induced climate change in a recent interview, repeatedly refused to provide a direct answer. Instead, he complained about other countries’ policies, criticized the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — which the Trump administration last week rolled back by relaxing controls on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations — and retreated to a claim that the answer “is going to be based upon the science.” That makes the Trump administration’s seeming hostility to scientific conclusions it does not like more troubling. A new assessment by Politico shows that the US government has “refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change.” This is not research about the actual causes of climate change; rather it is work that attempts to assess the impact of that change. — Japan Times

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