White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed a major White House climate change report that some have used to criticize President Donald Trump’s position on global warming.
The report is “not based on facts,” Sanders told reporters during a press conference Tuesday. She also argued that climate modeling of the kind researchers used in the National Climate Assessment report “is never exact.”
“We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” she said. “It’s not data driven. We’d like to see something that is more data driven. It’s based on modeling, which is extremely hard to do when you’re talking about the climate.”
The NCA report came from a team of 13 federal agencies and was cobbled together with the help of 300 scientists. They used a Representative Concentration Pathway adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to make their conclusions.
Continued use of coal and other fossil fuels will eliminate 10 percent of the GDP by 2100, according to the report. The country will also be 3 to 12 degrees hotter depending on the level of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, the report warns. It also suggests wildfires and hurricanes will increase as a result if the risk is left unchecked.
The report is not without its controversies. One climate expert argues researchers used an unreliable climate model. University of Colorado Prof. Roger Pielke Jr., for instance, criticized the researchers in a series of tweets Saturday for basing their modeling on a data that are likely to change dramatically over the course of the next 80 years.
He says the NCA’s second volume relies on the RCP8.5, one of the four possible pathways in the trajectory.
This particular pathway is slowly being phased out of the IPCC’s modeling because scientists believe the model likely overestimates future supply of fossil fuels. Researchers used the most extreme example possible to sell the narrative that wildfires will get worse, Pielke noted. He has criticized the media’s handling of similar reports.
NCA’s dire prediction of a 10 percent hit to U.S. GDP comes from a 2017 study supported by the charitable foundations founded by major Democratic donors. The study was also funded by other organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.