Branden Camp / AP

A front-page New York Times story about federal climate science, and yesterday's White House criticism of their piece, signals how charged the topic has become in the Trump era.

  • The Times delved into a major draft report that describes the powerful scientific evidence of human-caused global warming and damaging climatic changes already underway, as well as projections of future impact.
  • The report, by a suite of federal and academic scientists, notes that in recent years, even stronger evidence has emerged that shows "continuing, rapid, human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean."

Bottom line: The Times story and others put a spotlight on whether the Trump administration, which rejects the scientific mainstream on climate change, will seek to alter or suppress the findings. Rutgers scientist and report co-author Bob Kopp tells Axios he's "inclined to give the process the benefit of the doubt until there's a reason to do otherwise," and Politico reports that people involved in the report have seen no indication it will be suppressed. But the report and its fate are less consequential than the policy changes underway within the administration, such as scuttling Obama-era rules on power plant emissions and methane from oil-and-gas development, and revisiting auto mileage standards.

What's next: The study awaits sign-off from federal agencies, which are reviewing it until mid-August. It's slated for release in the fall. "The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date," press secretary Sarah Sanders said. The science study helps inform a periodic, congressionally mandated report called the National Climate Assessment.

Behind the news: the initial version of the Times story, since corrected, claimed the draft scientific report "has not been made public," but linked to a version of the study that in fact was released for review months ago. They later posted a newer, unreleased version, but the two documents have substantially the same findings.

The error provided an opening for White House criticism yesterday.

  • "It's very disappointing, yet entirely predictable to learn The New York Times would write off a draft report without first verifying its contents with the White House or any of the federal agencies directly involved with climate and environmental policy. As others have pointed out – and The New York Times should have noticed – drafts of this report have been published and made widely available online months ago during the public comment period," Sanders said.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
8 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
9 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!