The New York Times had a big scoop on Monday about a “blunt” climate change report scientists worried would be suppressed under the Trump administration.
The problem, however, is that the National Climate Assessment, a project of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, was not leaked. In fact, it was a non-story because the report has been made available to the public for more than six months.
The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times. […]
Another scientist involved in the process, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed. (NYT)
They went so far as to embed a full copy of the draft document presumably to ensure it wouldn't be suppressed.
But the authors of the study brought it to the Times’s attention that what they reported was a big nothing burger.
It's not clear what the news is in this story; posted draft is public review draft from Dec, and WH review hasn't yet missed Aug 18 deadline https://t.co/0sZxCCvoMn— Bob Kopp (@bobkopp) August 8, 2017
The Times' leaked draft has been on the Internet Archive since January, during the public comment period https://t.co/B8XLQ6omb2— Bob Kopp (@bobkopp) August 8, 2017
Another co-author of the report noted it was not leaked.
Important to point out that this report was already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review & comment time. Few did. https://t.co/eYgsj09Z97— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) August 8, 2017
Side-by-side comparison shows that @nytimes has public review version of our new climate sci report - so, no leak. It was available to all.— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) August 8, 2017
When a reporter for the Times pushed back, saying the version they had has not yet been made public, the scientist explained there very little difference between the two copies.
If this is the 5th draft, it would be a "leak"--but main diff between 5th vs 3rd (public) draft are edits in response to public+NAS comments https://t.co/k0kxjfRgzI— Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) August 8, 2017
When asked for comment about the story, the White House told Fox News it was predictable.
“As others have pointed out – and The New York Times should have noticed – drafts of this report have been published and made widely available online months ago during the public comment period,” the official said. “The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date.”