A State Department Intelligence report on human-caused climate change was prevented from delivery to the House Intelligence Committee by the White House after State officials refused to remove references to scientific findings of “possibly catastrophic” outcomes if fossil fuel consumption is not curbed.

Efforts to edit and ultimately stifle the prepared testimony by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research is the latest effort by the White House to shape the national narrative on human-caused climate change. Reports earlier last week indicated a White House-appointee to the U.S. Geological survey had ordered environment assessments produced by his office only use computer-generated models that project climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century. 

 

 

Scientists have said the move may give a misleading picture of potential effects, since climate changes through 2050 are relatively modest compared to what is predicted for the second half of the century.

White House officials in the Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all raised objections to the prepared testimony of Senior Analyst Rod Schoonover, who works in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues.

The document presented in explicit detail what the Trump administration faces in light of rising carbon emissions throughout the world. 

“Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change,” the document said.

Schoonover, a former professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University was allowed to appear before the House panel on Wednesday but was not allowed to submit his statement for the record.

A House Intelligence Committee aide confirmed to the Washington Post that the panel received written testimony of two other intelligence officials who testified at the public hearing held Wednesday, but did not receive Schoonover’s. 

 

 

One Trump official said Schoonover’s report did not “jibe” with the White House position on potential effects of sustained greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

At issue is work by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among other agencies, that indicates continued release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use will increase temperatures by as much as eight degrees and acidify oceans, having effects on the rise of ocean levels and the viability of some marine life. 

President Trump has long cast doubt on the effects of climate change, calling it a hoax invented by China. In 2017, he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate accord, and has previously criticized the National Climate Assessment, an interagency report produced about every four years since 2000. The next assessment, in which work already has begun, is due in 2021 or 2022. Narrowing the scope and duration evaluated in the next assessment could appear to mitigate effects of continued fossil fuel use, since the most drastic outcomes are not expected before 2050.