The US President dismissed the report's forecast of disastrous economic and social consequences from global warming, ignoring the fact that his own government agencies had prepared it.
The report was quietly released on 23 November, when many Americans had tuned out of the news to celebrate Thanksgiving.
It predicts climate change could cost some sectors hundreds of billions of dollars annually by 2100.
When asked about the report by journalists, Trump said he had “read some of it”.
“I don’t believe it,” he continued. “No, no, I don’t believe it.”
— The Hill (@thehill) November 26, 2018
The report paints a grim picture of the impact of climate change
Co-authored by more than a dozen US government agencies, the fourth National Climate Assessment forecasts climate change will cause widespread harm to human health, damage existing infrastructure, cause water shortages and radically alter US coastlines.
The report goes on to warn that “significant global mitigation action” will be necessary to slow rising sea levels and halt an increase in extreme and disruptive weather events.
Speaking to reporters on 26 November, Trump rejected the notion that the US needs to do more to limit and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and said the country was “the cleanest” it had ever been.
“You know (the report) addresses our country,” he said. “But if we’re clean, but if every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air and water. Very important.”
Under Trump’s leadership, the US has become the only country to walk away from the Paris Climate Agreement.
He has also been a vociferous critic of climate science and has supported industries which are the largest contributors of harmful emissions, such as coal.
The Trump administration tried to bury a federally-mandated climate change study by releasing it the Friday after Thanksgiving. Here's what they didn't want you to hear:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 26, 2018
Clinton, Gore condemn Trump’s decision to bury the report
Writing on Twitter, Hillary Clinton said Trump had tried to “bury” the report by releasing it during the holidays.
In a later tweet, she wrote that climate change “is about more than dollars and cents. It’s a moral imperative,” and said it presents a challenge that needs to be confronted for the wellbeing of future generations.
Clinton was one of many world leaders to take aim at Trump over his rejection of the report. Al Gore also condemned the deliberately low-key release of the report, particularly after California was ravaged by extreme weather events in the form of wildfire.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also took to Twitter to condemn Trump and Australian leader Scott Morrison for “refusing to show any global leadership on something fundamental to our children’s future.” He also voiced his concern that both are “backed by Rupert Murdoch”, who he termed “the ultimate climate change denier.”
President Donald Trump suggested that the United States should create a "worldwide network" to combat the "unfair" way the country is treated by the media, saying CNN doesn't have enough competition overseashttps://t.co/p2RgGre8m3
— POLITICO (@politico) November 26, 2018
Trump’s vision of a news network to portray US in a positive light to the world
Apparently frustrated by coverage of the National Climate Assessment, Trump suggested the US could create its own international network to demonstrate to the world how “great” the nation is.
“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way” he tweeted. “Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”
He again wrongly claimed that CNN received poor ratings in the US, but lamented that it dominated the news agenda.
The US government already provides funding to international broadcasters such as Voice of America, which has more than 1,000 staff and produces television, radio and online content in more than 40 languages. It was established in 1976 with a charter to “broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience.”
Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr previously told The CEO Magazine Trump’s most likely career path after office would be establishing a news network “catering to people to the right of Fox News.”
Header image credit: Michael Vadon