Federal report contradicts EPA chief's climate change claims
Drinking water biggest concern, Wheeler says
President Donald Trump reminded the public on Monday, in honor of Earth Day, that while his administration values the environment, "environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand." Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler have publicly stated that climate change is not the White House's main environmental priority.
In March, in his first televised interview after being confirmed as the EPA chief, Wheeler told CBS that "most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out," contradicting the conclusions of top scientists in the US government and international organizations like the UN.
Instead, Wheeler stressed that access to clean drinking water was the greatest concern facing the environment, a sentiment echoed in the White House's Earth Day statement, which said the administration is working to strengthen the "security and reliability of our drinking water and accelerating spending on water infrastructure."
An analysis by the environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club, released Monday, found nine instances in which Wheeler's statements about the delayed impact of climate change were directly contradicted in the National Climate Assessment, a government-sponsored climate analysis authored by scientists from 13 federal agencies that was released in November. (there is no link to this analysis because they gave it to us exclusively)
Other major scientific studies, including one produced by the United Nations' International Panel on Climate Change, also contradict Wheeler's claims. "Human-induced global warming" has caused "multiple observed changes in the climate system," according to the International Panel on Climate Change Special Report.
Here are nine examples from the National Climate Assessment directly contradicting Wheeler's statement that climate change impacts are still 50 to 75 years away, according to the Sierra Club's analysis.
1. Sea level rise
Sea level rise "has already increased the frequency of high tide flooding by a factor of 5 to 10 for several U.S. coastal communities," according to the National Climate Assessment. The report says that the rise has contributed to coastal flooding since the 1960s.
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