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A climate change report that assessed and balanced the best research thus far was compiled by federal scientists and was in the process of being approved for presentation to Americans. 

But fearing that it would be suppressed by the administration of President Donald Trump before it reached the general public, scientists behind the massive effort have released the findings directly to The New York Times.

The “U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report” released by the newspaper online still bears “draft” and “do not cite, quote, distribute” on virtually every page. But its findings echo the majority of peer-reviewed science in the biggest journals over the last decade-plus.

The world is warming – and warming at an accelerating rate, argue the scientists from national laboratories, NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and other key groups.

The report breaks down the likelihood and confidence in all the many projections – and also leaves open the door for unforeseen changes as the feedback loop of warming continues into the 21st century, they add.

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” they write. “Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor.”

The global annual average temperature increased 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit between 1880 and 2015, most of which built up since about 1951, according to the highest confidence levels. Only slightly less certain is that average temperatures are the highest they’ve been in at least the past 1,700 years, they write.

The effects have already started to present themselves – even to the naked eye. Extreme cold waves have become less common globally, while extreme heat waves have been more common. At the same time, heavy precipitation events in the U.S. have increased in both intensity and frequency since the beginning of the 20th century – especially for the Northeast. On the flip side, droughts and heat waves have been more common in other parts of the U.S., they add. Alaska is uniquely “on the front lines” of climate change – and residents can already attest to accelerated melting of ice and glaciers, eroding shorelines, and higher temperatures in “the Last Frontier.” Globally, the interconnectedness means sea level has been rising at the fastest rate in about 2,000 years.

The anthropogenic causes are clear, they find.

“There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate,” they conclude. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes.”

But even if humanity were to stop emitting greenhouse gases cold-turkey, the lingering effects would generate an additional 0.5 degree Fahrenheit in average warming, the report adds. And limiting the warming to 2 degrees Celsius over the rest of this century will require major reductions in emissions – or carbon removal technologies that are not yet proven or feasible.

President Donald Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement on June 1. The move reverses the pledge made by then-President Barack Obama as part of the 192-nation coalition to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius through 2100. Trump claimed “negotiations” to get back into a deal would take place in the future.

Trump said the deal and its costs were unfair to the U.S., variously referring to it as “draconian” and “onerous.”

“We’re getting out… we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said. “We’re following through on our commitments, and I don’t want anything to get in our way.”

The United States joined only Nicaragua and Syria as the group of nations to opt out of the international accord. (Syria is in midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua protested the terms did not go far enough).

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