For years, careful climate scientists — and the politicians like Obama who listened to them — have avoided saying that any particular event was directly caused by climate change, even as they called for urgent action to address the issue. But researchers now say they can use a variety of approaches to show that climate change is all but certainly causing and worsening extreme weather events.
A comprehensive new report from scientists at 13 federal agencies, published this week by the New York Times as it awaits review by the Trump administration, highlights the change in thinking. The scientists behind the report, leaders in their respective fields, say researchers can use statistical analysis, modeling and other methods to determine how much climate change increased the likelihood of a given event.
“The days of saying no single weather event can be linked to climate change are over,” said Heidi Cullen, chief scientist at Climate Central, a nonprofit that reports on global warming, last year. “This report makes a really important contribution in linking global warming to extreme weather.”
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders criticized the Times in a statement for not verifying the report with the White House and noted that parts of it have previously been published in draft form.
Regardless, now that the report has been published in full, its conclusions are beyond the President’s power to kill.