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Al Gore says Trump administration seeks to "bury" climate report by releasing it on Black Friday

Climate report released by Trump administration
Climate change report released by administration skeptical of climate science 02:23

NEW YORK -- Environmental groups and activists blasted the White House this week, saying it was trying to "bury" a long-awaited government report on climate change by releasing it on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Among those who spoke out was former Vice President Al Gore, who became the face of the climate debate with the 2006 documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

"Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the west, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis," Gore said in a statement Friday. "The President may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible."  

The National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law, was written by outside scientists and officials from 13 federal agencies. It says Earth's climate is now changing faster than ever, primarily as a result of human activities. It also warns that extreme weather and climate-related events, like wildfires and hurricanes, are worsening in the U.S.   

Releasing information on a Friday afternoon or around a holiday is widely seen as a way to minimize the amount of attention it might get.

The report was long scheduled for release in December, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Wednesday -- the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday -- that it would be released on Black Friday, widely regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It was unclear why the date was moved up.

"It's an absolute disgrace to bury the truth about climate impacts in a year that saw hundreds of Americans die during devastating climate-fueled megafires, hurricanes, floods, and algal blooms," National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Collin O'Mara said in a statement.

Study co-author Andrew Light, an international policy expert at the World Resources Institute, told The Associated Press that releasing the report on Black Friday "is a transparent attempt by the Trump Administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying but suppressing the best of climate science."

Deputy weather editor Angela Fritz of The Washington Post, David Doniger, senior climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and environmental social scientist Philip Loring were also critical of the report's timing.

The report is the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment or NCA4, which NOAA said is designed to be "an authoritative assessment of the impacts of climate change on the U.S. and its territories, and was written to help decision-makers, utility and resource managers, public health officials, emergency planners, and other stakeholders better understand the effects of climate change on the United States." 

Volume I of the assessment, which concluded that it was "extremely likely" that climate change has been caused by humans, was released last November.

Report reveals dire consequences of climate change 10:44

The newly released report frequently contradicts President Donald Trump. The Trump administration and many elected Republicans have frequently said they can't tell how much of climate change is caused by humans and how much is natural. 

Mr. Trump announced last year his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, which requires countries to establish ambitious targets to reduce the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. 

Last month on "60 Minutes," Lesley Stahl asked Mr. Trump if he still thought climate change was a hoax, as he asserted in 2012.

"I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again," Mr. Trump told Stahl. "I don't think it's a hoax. I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade," Mr. Trump said. 

"I will say this: I don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs."

As millions of Americans braced for record-breaking cold temperatures on Thanksgiving, the president tweeted: "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?"

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