The White House on Tuesday attacked the New York Times for publishing a draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies declaring the U.S. is already feeling the effects of climate change.
But the White House did not dispute the substance of the report, which found the average temperature in the U.S. has risen since 1980 and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years. Scientists who drafted the report also found human activities “are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”
“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,” said Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, in a statement. “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. The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date.”
The New York Times reported Monday that a scientist who worked on the study said he and others feared the Trump administration would try to suppress the report.
Trump has been dismissive of the human effects of climate change. As president, he has taken action that has concerned environmentalists, such announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris international climate change agreement.
Earlier Tuesday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she believes the Trump administration would accept the report’s findings.
“I haven’t seen the report, but I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t,” Haley said in an interview with NBC.