President Donald Trump responded on Monday to the bombshell climate assessment released by his administration on Friday, saying he doesn’t believe the economic impact it’s predicted to have on the US.
“Mr. President, have you read the climate report yet?” a reporter asked Trump outside the White House.
“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump responded.
“They say the economic impact would be devastating —” the reporter continued, referring to the projected economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars due to climate change.
“Yeah, I don’t believe it,” Trump replied.
The predicted economic impact
The report, which is the fourth National Climate Assessment to be released following a mandate from a law passed in 1990, was shared with the public on November 23 — the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Per the report, the temperature in the US has already risen 1.8 degrees Farenheit since 1990, and it’s predicted to go up another 2.5 degrees by 2050, and if the emission of greenhouse gasses continues at its current rate, the temperature could rise by as much as 11 degrees Farenheit by 2100, the report said.
And the assessment predicts that climate change will have a big impact on the economy.
“Annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century — more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many US states,” according to the report.
By 2090, deaths associated with climate change could cost $140 billion, and the report says that “almost two billion labor hours are projected to be lost annually by 2090 from the impacts of temperature extremes, costing an estimated $160 billion in lost wages.”
The report also lays out how climate change will impact food production, ecosystems, human health, infrastructure, migration, clean water — and it explains how we can respond through adaptation and reducing carbon emissions.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” the report says. “The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future — but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.”
“That’s very important to me.”
In his conversation with reporters, Trump deflected by talking about other nations.
“No, no, I don’t believe it,” he said in response to a reporter following up on his initial denial. “And here’s the other thing, you’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all these other countries — you know, it addresses our country,” Trump said, referring to the report.
“Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me,” he continued. “But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”
However, the report makes it plain that both clean air and clean water are at risk due to climate change.
“The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment,” the report explains.
Clean air is also threatened by rising temperatures: “Changes in temperature and precipitation are increasing air quality and health risks from wildfire and ground-level ozone pollution.”
Trump on climate change
Trump has wavered on the issue of climate change — at one point during the 2016 election he called it a “hoax.”
Earlier this year, however, he said “I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference,” but questioned weather it was caused by human activity. A scientific consensus (and this recent report) has agreed that the warming trend is human-caused.
In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a deal negotiated in 2015 between 195 countries aimed at taking measures to stop the world’s temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius.