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

FEC commissioner fact-checks Trump's voter fraud claims

Federal Election Commission Ellen Weintraub during a committee hearing in the Capitol in 2017. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Federal Election Commission commissioner Ellen Weintraub posted an extensive fact-checking thread to Twitter late Wednesday refuting claims by President Trump and some Republicans that mail-in voting can lead to fraud.

Why it matters: Weintraub weighed in after Trump threatened to take action against Twitter for fact-checking him on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent, and she directly addressed Twitter's fact-checkin of the president in her post.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 5,695,155 — Total deaths: 355,688 — Total recoveries — 2,351,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 1,699,933 — Total deaths: 100,442 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Minneapolis police clashed for a second night with protesters demonstrating the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted late Wednesday that the situation where the clashes were taking place was "extremely dangerous" as he urged people to leave the area. There were multiple news reports of police firing tear gas at protesters and of some people looting a Target store.