May 28, 2019

NYT: Trump weighs major climate science shift

President Trump. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration may sharply curtail the scope of federal reports about the future effects of climate change, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. government produces closely watched analyses that add to scientific and popular understanding.

  • They include a late 2018 report warning of "hundreds of billions of dollars" in annual losses to some economic sectors without scaled up emissions-cutting and adaptation.

Where it stands: The NYT report looks at 2 major changes.

  • One of them would jettison what the NYT calls "worst case scenario" projections of unchecked emissions and the steep temperature rises that would result.
  • The paper also reports that one agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, will only use climate models that project effects through 2040, rather than 2100.

The big question: How will these changes affect the next version of the National Climate Assessment (NCA), a sweeping report that many agencies and outside scientists create that is issued roughly every 4 years.

  • Going forward, projections of unchecked emissions and their impact "will not automatically be included in the National Climate Assessment or in some other scientific reports produced by the government," they report.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman:

"It's one thing to ignore the science, but quite another to try to dictate what goes into them. It risks making the administration look heavy-handed and Orwellian."
"At the end of the day, this approach would not succeed in stifling the main message, as there are more than a dozen agencies involved in the NCA process, plus outside researchers who can publish independently."

Go deeper

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health