The Huffington Post has obtained a leaked internal memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was sent to the agency's staff with guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science.
The memo, sent by Dr Joel Scheraga, Senior Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation at the agency, advises communications directors and regional office public affairs directors on how to phrase discussions on climate change. Its subject line was “Consistent Messages on Climate Adaptation”.
The memo was confirmed by the agency on Wednesday morning and by Wednesday afternoon Liz Bowman, an EPA spokeswoman stated: “This is not an official memo; this is simply an email among colleagues, based on information developed by someone in our office,” adding that “implying we are telling people to downplay climate change is a gross over misrepresentation of the facts.”
So let’s look at the facts raised in Dr Scheraga’s email.
“Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner,” Scheraga wrote. The "some" uses language that suggests doubt over the scientific consensus that humans are driving climate change with 99.999 percent certainty. Even the Trump administration had to release a report confirming that humans are behind it. There isn't any question we are doing it.
How about “The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” The idea that the science is still being debated is the climate denier's go-to argument. But dialogues in science are a good thing. The best climate change models are constantly being updated with new information because that’s how science works. There has yet to be a version of a single model that tells us things will be just fine if we carry on as we are.
And what to do about it? We already know what to do about it: Cut CO2 emissions. That is the whole point of the Paris Agreement; having the whole world unite – these days minus the US, of course – in attempting the mitigation of climate change. Changing our habits and investing in low-carbon industries is what we can do about it.
The memo tries to drive this uncertainty about climate science home by repeating the points above. “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”
Perhaps for people with a vested interest in not going down the renewable energy route, there are "clear gaps", but for those who have spent their entire careers studying the complexities of climate change, there just isn't. That you might believe one over the other is ludicrous.
This is only the latest of the continuous attacks on science from the EPA and its boss, Scott Pruitt, who claims that science shouldn’t dictate policies in the United States.
[H/T: Huffington Post]