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The best tool for investigating a problem is asking the right questions to the best sources of factual information. Today the U.S. government is seeking neither. The federal and scientific organizations that can answer those questions are screaming for attention in report after report. Only the American citizen is starting to read and pay attention.

What are the right questions to ask at the beginning of the 21st century?

Blame and name calling are neither questions nor answers. Politicians blame each other for a slow economy and lagging job growth.

The finger pointing goes like this. “You’re a fascist.” “No, you’re a fascist.” At the same time, both parties work toward an aristocratic oligarchy.

Bigots blame anyone that doesn’t look, speak, or believe as they do. Trump and Pyongyang threaten to annihilate each other rather than negotiate to find common purpose. The reality of modern war is that civilians suffer, by far, the greatest number of casualties. Hasn’t testosterone poisoning lead us to enough war and the collapse of civilizations?

What if clean, fresh water was not wasted and easily available? What would the world look like if agriculture provided nourishing food in abundance for everyone? What if economies invested in steady, long-term growth instead of the boom-bust of unregulated free market capitalism? What if we invested in conservation technology, infrastructure and sustainable innovation for energy and industry? What if policy was based on science, statistical probability and the precautionary principle? Wouldn’t that be better than bleeding the treasury with knee jerk responses and band-aid fixes for droughts, floods and storm damage that is clearly due to anthropogenic climate change? If we did all of these things, why wouldn’t jobs follow? The majority of economists say more jobs would result than staying with old technologies.

If we helped the developing world get a leg up, would there still be civil strife and mass refugee immigration? Wouldn’t we be creating trade partners that grow rather than diminish mutual prosperity?

Wouldn’t measured, sustainable development lower the risk of unpredictable threats to domestic and national security?

These are all questions addressed in three recently released comprehensive reports.

“The 27th annual ‘State of the Climate’ report, led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), stands as the first comprehensive rebuke by the nation’s and world’s climate scientists to the presidency of Donald Trump.”

A special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) was recently released (Vol. 98, No. 8, August 2017). “The State of The Climate 2016” report highlighted a 3.5 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 between 2015 and 2016. This was the greatest increase in the 58-year history of monitoring this greenhouse gas. The present average concentration of CO2 for 2016 was 402.9 ppm. This was the highest concentration in the past 800,000 years. Nearly all trends of climate change and global warming are increasing above previous rates. It is now less than a 5 percent chance that the world will attain the Paris agreement goal of 2℃. The goal of 2℃ is twice the mean annual fluctuation in temperature (1℃) over the last 12,000 years. This mild 1℃ mean average temperature fluctuation allowed the establishment of permanent settlements and rise of all historic human civilizations. Beyond 2℃ there is increasing doubt that climate extremes will allow a widespread global civilization to be maintained.

The third report I submit to the reader represents the combined findings of 13 U.S. government agencies. This U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM CLIMATE SCIENCE SPECIAL REPORT (CSSR), June 2017 is part of the National Climate Assessment that is produced every four years for Congress and the Executive Branch. There are fears that the Trump administration will block or edit the report. The current Executive Branch has a history of issuing gag orders to prevent informing the public about global warming, climate change or even the use of those terms. The New York Times printed a finalized and approved “draft” of the final report. Final scientific review and approval were already conducted by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS has the official responsibility of informing the government of the factual state of science. Only the Executive Branch would be able to further modify the document before official release.

There are no higher scientific organizations in the United States or the world than those authors of these three reports. The findings are clear. The questions have been asked and answered by those who actually do the research and collect the data. Counter arguments have been conscientiously reviewed and tested. The result is that there are no credible scientific arguments against these findings. Statements to the contrary are a fraud or demand proof under scientific review by these same agencies.

Nearly a year ago, I threw down the gauntlet challenging anthropogenic climate skeptics (deniers) to a public scientific review of any and all counter arguments. These reports indicate that the evidence has been researched, reviewed and evaluated.

There are no longer two sides for or against anthropogenic global warming and resulting climate change. There are no “alternative facts” to the evidence cited in these reports.

W. Douglas Smith is an environmental scientist, environmental diplomat, explorer, educator and a retired Senior Compliance Investigator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked for 36 years.

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