Al Gore blasts Trump for ‘burying’ climate report by releasing it on Black Friday

Former Vice President Al Gore accused the Trump administration of trying to “bury’ a damning government report that linked global warming to the worsening of natural disasters by quietly releasing the study on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Gore, who since his time as vice president has become an outspoken advocate for the need to counteract … Continue reading “Al Gore blasts Trump for ‘burying’ climate report by releasing it on Black Friday”

Former Vice President Al Gore accused the Trump administration of trying to “bury’ a damning government report that linked global warming to the worsening of natural disasters by quietly releasing the study on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Gore, who since his time as vice president has become an outspoken advocate for the need to counteract the effects of global warming, said in a statement that the White House was trying to “bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis” by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. The day, known as Black Friday, has become the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and one that most Americans have off from work.

“Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the West, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis,” Gore said in a statement that he posted on Twitter Friday. “The president may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.”

The National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law every few years and is based on more than 1,000 previous research studies, details how global warming — from the burning of coal, oil and gas — is hurting each region of the United States and how it impacts different sectors of the economy, including energy and agriculture. It was written long before the deadly fires in California this month and before Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the East Coast and Florida.

"Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us," the report says.

This includes worsening air pollution causing heart and lung problems, more diseases from insects, the potential for a jump in deaths during heat waves, and nastier allergies, according to the report.

“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 U.S. states," the report says. It'll be especially costly on the nation's coasts because of rising seas and severe storm surges, which will lower property values. And in some areas, such as parts of Alaska and Louisiana, coastal flooding will likely force people to relocate.”

While Gore has become one of the most prominent advocates for reducing carbon emissions and fighting to reduce the effect of climate change, the former vice president has not been immune from claims that his work is not as altruistic as it appears.

Gore left the vice president’s residence with a relatively modest net worth of $1.7 million — mostly from family farm assets — but since the release of his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and his continuing global tour to preach his message, he has amassed a fortune valued at upward of $200 million. From the fossil fuels he burns jetting around the globe, to his socializing with Hollywood heavy hitters, to his 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California that cost $8.8 million, some climate activists have questioned whether Gore is helping or hurting the climate fight.

“He is a flawed character,” Stephen Lacey, editor-in-chief of the magazine GreenTechMedia, said on his podcast “The Energy Gang” last year. “We’re in an era of backlash against elites, so Gore, a guy who bought a 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California for $8.8 million, and who hangs around with other celebrities who talk big on climate but who live lavish lifestyles, is the perfect target at this point in time.”

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Gore’s lifestyle aside, his statement comes amid what appears to be a continuing denial from Trump and members of his administration about the dangers climate change poses to the environment and to the world’s economy.

Earlier in the week, Trump tweeted about the brutal cold spell that hit the East Coast over the Thanksgiving holiday and questioned “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Friday's report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: "Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity … Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase."

The Lower 48 states have warmed 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since 1900 with 1.2 degrees in the last few decades, according to the report. By the end of the century, the U.S. will be 3 to 12 degrees (1.6 to 6.6 degrees Celsius) hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns.

Releasing the report on Black Friday "is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying, but suppressing the best of climate science," said study co-author Andrew Light, an international policy expert at the World Resources Institute.

During a press conference Friday, officials behind the report repeatedly declined to answer questions about the timing of its release and why it contradicts public statements from Trump. Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing were "relevant," but said what was in the report was more important.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Al Gore blasts Trump for ‘burying’ climate report by releasing it on Black Friday

Former Vice President Al Gore accused the Trump administration of trying to “bury’ a damning government report that linked global warming to the worsening of natural disasters by quietly releasing the study on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Gore, who since his time as vice president has become an outspoken advocate for the need to counteract the effects of global warming, said in a statement that the White House was trying to “bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis” by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. The day, known as Black Friday, has become the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and one that most Americans have off from work.

“Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the West, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis,” Gore said in a statement that he posted on Twitter Friday. “The president may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.”

The National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law every few years and is based on more than 1,000 previous research studies, details how global warming — from the burning of coal, oil and gas — is hurting each region of the United States and how it impacts different sectors of the economy, including energy and agriculture. It was written long before the deadly fires in California this month and before Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the East Coast and Florida.

"Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us," the report says.

This includes worsening air pollution causing heart and lung problems, more diseases from insects, the potential for a jump in deaths during heat waves, and nastier allergies, according to the report.

“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 U.S. states," the report says. It'll be especially costly on the nation's coasts because of rising seas and severe storm surges, which will lower property values. And in some areas, such as parts of Alaska and Louisiana, coastal flooding will likely force people to relocate.”

While Gore has become one of the most prominent advocates for reducing carbon emissions and fighting to reduce the effect of climate change, the former vice president has not been immune from claims that his work is not as altruistic as it appears.

Gore left the vice president’s residence with a relatively modest net worth of $1.7 million — mostly from family farm assets — but since the release of his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and his continuing global tour to preach his message, he has amassed a fortune valued at upward of $200 million. From the fossil fuels he burns jetting around the globe, to his socializing with Hollywood heavy hitters, to his 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California that cost $8.8 million, some climate activists have questioned whether Gore is helping or hurting the climate fight.

“He is a flawed character,” Stephen Lacey, editor-in-chief of the magazine GreenTechMedia, said on his podcast “The Energy Gang” last year. “We’re in an era of backlash against elites, so Gore, a guy who bought a 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California for $8.8 million, and who hangs around with other celebrities who talk big on climate but who live lavish lifestyles, is the perfect target at this point in time.”

Video

Gore’s lifestyle aside, his statement comes amid what appears to be a continuing denial from Trump and members of his administration about the dangers climate change poses to the environment and to the world’s economy.

Earlier in the week, Trump tweeted about the brutal cold spell that hit the East Coast over the Thanksgiving holiday and questioned “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Friday's report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: "Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity … Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase."

The Lower 48 states have warmed 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since 1900 with 1.2 degrees in the last few decades, according to the report. By the end of the century, the U.S. will be 3 to 12 degrees (1.6 to 6.6 degrees Celsius) hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns.

Releasing the report on Black Friday "is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying, but suppressing the best of climate science," said study co-author Andrew Light, an international policy expert at the World Resources Institute.

During a press conference Friday, officials behind the report repeatedly declined to answer questions about the timing of its release and why it contradicts public statements from Trump. Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing were "relevant," but said what was in the report was more important.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump hammered for California wildfire claims – but Gov. Brown has also backed new forest management measures

President Trump has drawn the ire of many Californians for his recent comments that better forest management could have prevented, or at least mitigated, the damage caused by the devastating wildfires in the state that have destroyed millions of dollars in property, left 79 people dead and hundreds more missing.

But as recently as last August, California’s outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown proposed similar changes to the state's logging rules that would allow large landowners to topple larger trees and build temporary roads as a way to thin the forests across the Golden State and possibly prevent some widespread wildfires.

Under Brown’s proposal – which was supported by the logging industry in the state but opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups – landowners would be permitted to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter, a jump from the current 26 inches, on properties that are 300 acres or less without getting a timber harvest permit and would also be able to build roads up to 600 feet long.

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Timber industry officials supported Brown’s proposal and argued that cutting red tape and allowing landowners to cut down their own trees would not only save money but provide incentives to thin large pine and fir forests that have become hazardously overgrown.

While environmental groups agree that a certain level of forest thinning is needed to prevent or lessen the risk of wildfires, they worry that Brown’s plan would permit loggers to cut large redwoods and other vulnerable trees that are not under threat from the wildfires.

“We acknowledge there is a problem,” Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel back in August. “The idea of trying to get a handle on it is a good thing. But this is an over reach. You don’t need to be putting such large trees on the chopping block.”

Trump over the last week has been slammed for calling California’s forest management a "big problem" and suggesting that California officials needed to do a much better job, while downplaying any larger effect from climate change in promoting abnormally dry conditions and dead trees and creating fuel for fire.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests."

Brown, who frequently has been at odds with the president over a number of issues, rebuked Trump’s criticism of the state and the president’s focus on forest management over climate change. Brown's spokesman, Evan Westrup, said in a statement that the governor’s “focus is on the Californians impacted by these fires…not on the president's inane, uninformed tweets."

Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Brown added that the he did not press Trump on the argument that climate change is a crucial factor in the rise of more destructive wildfires when the president visited the state over the weekend, but did say that long-term forest health will require reducing carbon emissions.

"You can mull the science, but I'll tell you every year it's going to get clearer and clearer," Brown said. "I think in less than five years even the worst skeptics are going to be believers."

Experts say that the argument over whether the rise in wildfires is caused by a changing climate is not a clear-cut issue, but agree that forest management is not the main contributor.

Nature provides the dangerous winds that have whipped the fires, and human-caused climate change over the long haul is killing and drying the shrubs and trees that provide the fuel. That's not to say California is blameless: Urban development encroaching on wildlands also is a factor.

But about 19 million or 57 percent of California's 33 million acres of forests are managed or owned by the federal government, according to the University of California.

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The wildfire that incinerated the Northern California town of Paradise and surrounding areas is the single deadliest such blaze in California history.

The other major fire, in Southern California, has burned through shrubland, not forest.

"It's not about forest management," said University of Utah fire scientist Philip Dennison. "These aren't forests."

The dean of the University of Michigan's environmental school, Jonathan Overpeck, said Western fires are getting bigger and more severe. He said it "is much less due to bad management and is instead the result of our baking of our forests, woodlands and grasslands with ever-worsening climate change."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Al Gore blasts Trump for ‘burying’ climate report by releasing it on Black Friday

Former Vice President Al Gore accused the Trump administration of trying to “bury’ a damning government report that linked global warming to the worsening of natural disasters by quietly releasing the study on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Gore, who since his time as vice president has become an outspoken advocate for the need to counteract the effects of global warming, said in a statement that the White House was trying to “bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis” by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. The day, known as Black Friday, has become the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and one that most Americans have off from work.

“Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the West, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis,” Gore said in a statement that he posted on Twitter Friday. “The president may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.”

The National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law every few years and is based on more than 1,000 previous research studies, details how global warming — from the burning of coal, oil and gas — is hurting each region of the United States and how it impacts different sectors of the economy, including energy and agriculture. It was written long before the deadly fires in California this month and before Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the East Coast and Florida.

"Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us," the report says.

This includes worsening air pollution causing heart and lung problems, more diseases from insects, the potential for a jump in deaths during heat waves, and nastier allergies, according to the report.

“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 U.S. states," the report says. It'll be especially costly on the nation's coasts because of rising seas and severe storm surges, which will lower property values. And in some areas, such as parts of Alaska and Louisiana, coastal flooding will likely force people to relocate.”

While Gore has become one of the most prominent advocates for reducing carbon emissions and fighting to reduce the effect of climate change, the former vice president has not been immune from claims that his work is not as altruistic as it appears.

Gore left the vice president’s residence with a relatively modest net worth of $1.7 million — mostly from family farm assets — but since the release of his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and his continuing global tour to preach his message, he has amassed a fortune valued at upward of $200 million. From the fossil fuels he burns jetting around the globe, to his socializing with Hollywood heavy hitters, to his 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California that cost $8.8 million, some climate activists have questioned whether Gore is helping or hurting the climate fight.

“He is a flawed character,” Stephen Lacey, editor-in-chief of the magazine GreenTechMedia, said on his podcast “The Energy Gang” last year. “We’re in an era of backlash against elites, so Gore, a guy who bought a 6,500-square-foot seafront home in California for $8.8 million, and who hangs around with other celebrities who talk big on climate but who live lavish lifestyles, is the perfect target at this point in time.”

Video

Gore’s lifestyle aside, his statement comes amid what appears to be a continuing denial from Trump and members of his administration about the dangers climate change poses to the environment and to the world’s economy.

Earlier in the week, Trump tweeted about the brutal cold spell that hit the East Coast over the Thanksgiving holiday and questioned “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Friday's report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: "Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity … Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase."

The Lower 48 states have warmed 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since 1900 with 1.2 degrees in the last few decades, according to the report. By the end of the century, the U.S. will be 3 to 12 degrees (1.6 to 6.6 degrees Celsius) hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns.

Releasing the report on Black Friday "is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying, but suppressing the best of climate science," said study co-author Andrew Light, an international policy expert at the World Resources Institute.

During a press conference Friday, officials behind the report repeatedly declined to answer questions about the timing of its release and why it contradicts public statements from Trump. Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing were "relevant," but said what was in the report was more important.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.