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Former EPA head calls on Trump to heed the climate science

August 8, 2017 GMT

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama is calling for President Donald Trump to listen to the experts after a federal climate report concluded the United States is already feeling the effects of climate change.

The draft report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was distributed widely in December for review by leading scientists from 13 federal agencies. The New York Times published a copy Monday. It says extreme heat waves have become more common and extreme cold waves less common since the 1980s. It also found emissions of greenhouse gases will affect the degree to which global temperatures rise — a claim Trump has disputed.

“It is really showing us that there have been extreme increases in weather in a very short period of time,” Gina McCarthy McCarthy told The Associated Press at an event Tuesday in Portsmouth.

“The changes we are seeing aren’t simply about endangering polar bears and glaciers,” she said. “These are fundamental changes that could impact our public health and welfare, the future of our children. It is time that we stop denying the science because it may not be on someone’s political agenda and start taking the actions we need to take.”

The EPA referred questions about the report to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which declined to comment.

McCarthy said she can’t blame people “for being very nervous” that the report might be suppressed, given the administration’s record of removing climate data from the EPA website “as if it doesn’t exist.”

She called on Trump — who previously suggested that climate change is a “total con job” and “hoax” — to take the advice of his experts and let them do their scientific review without political interference. Then, the president should act on those recommendation and embrace the clean energy economy rather than ceding “innovation and economic growth to other countries like China.”

“The job of the president I know is not an easy one,” said McCarthy, who also worked for five Republican and Democratic administrations in Massachusetts and was a fellow this spring at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

“But the most important thing with any job is that you listen and learn from the experts. I would hope the 15,000 people at the EPA — many of them scientists — get to continue to do their jobs without political intervention. People need facts. ... When people have facts, they make great decisions. That is what a democracy is about.”


Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who also took part in the event put on by the League of Conservation Voters, agreed that it was “absolutely critical that we follow independent peer reviewed science in crafting environmental policy.”

“I hope very much that the Trump administration will release the report and endorse the findings,” she said. “It would be really important for this president to acknowledge that science matters and to actually read this report and perhaps realize that we all need to working together to protect our planet and our economy.”