Climate change is behind a rapid and drastic change in temperatures in the United States since 1980, according to a draft report that is awaiting approval from the Trump administration.
The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the draft report, said Monday the effects of global warming can already be felt in most parts of the United States with temperatures the highest they have been in the past 1,500 years.
The report projects the world temperature will rise an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit — or 0.30 degrees Celsius — in the coming century, and the Times noted even that small amount of temperature rise can cause longer heat waves, worse rainstorms, and the hastening of coral reef disintegration.
The report had a "very high" confidence the number and severity of cool nights have decreased while the warm days have increased since the 1960s, according to the Times. And extreme cold waves are less common while extreme heat waves are more common since the 1980s.
The report said it had a medium degree of confidence human-caused global warming had caused higher temperatures in the Western and Northern United States, though it found no such link in the Southeast.
The report is mandated by Congress every four years as part of the National Climate Assessment and was finished earlier this year. It has been approved by the National Academy of Sciences and is awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
But scientists who spoke to the Times expressed fear it might not get that approval, especially since Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has expressed doubts about carbon dioxide being a cause of climate change.
Pruitt's EPA and 12 other federal agencies have an Aug. 13 deadline to approve the report.
"It's a fraught situation," Princeton University professor of geoscience and international affairs Michael Oppenheimer told the Times. "This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it."
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