The Trump administration downplays its own report tallying carbon pollution on public lands

The Trump administration gave us a two-for-one bad deal on Black Friday, releasing two reports it was hoping would fly under the radar over the holiday weekend. The first, of course, was the Fourth National Climate Assessment (4NCA). The second was the U.S. Geological Survey's first-ever report quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from oil, gas, and coal operations on public lands. Turns out, there are a lot of them. A whopping quarter of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2014 came from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels on public lands and federally held oil rigs offshore. The Obama administration ordered the agency to prepare the report back in 2016 in an effort to help guide the country’s energy policy. But despite the shocking new data, the current administration is unlikely to change course on its ambitious agenda to ramp up fossil fuel production. Since taking office, the Trump administration (and U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in particular) have opened up our national monuments to the highest bidder, illegally proposed drilling in permanently protected Arctic and Atlantic waters, and tried to expand offshore drilling along the rest of the U.S. coastline. When asked about the dire warnings in the 4NCA, written by 13 of his own agencies, Trump said, "I don't believe it." We don't expect the USGS report to be received any differently.

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