My View: Trump Admin Knows Climate Change Is Happening, Devastating, but Won’t Do Anything about It

The Washington Post yesterday had a startling story.  They found buried deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement “the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.”

Such a rise, scientists believe would be catastrophic, including “any coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.”

However, there are no dire warnings.  They do not recommend that the world cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, the analysis they offer simply “assumes the plant’s fate is already sealed.”

In fact, the statement was written by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in order to justify the president’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars built after 2020.

“While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket,” the post reports.

“The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.

Instead, the Trump administration projects that global temperature will rise by nearly 3.5 degrees Celsius above what the average temperature was between 1986 and 2005 – regardless of whether Obama-era tailpipe standards take effect or are frozen for six years, as the Trump administration has proposed.

The world would “have to make deep cuts in carbon emissions to avoid this drastic warming,” the analysis states.

And that “would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today’s levels and would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible.”

This is the first acknowledgement by the Trump administration that temperatures are rising as the result of human activities.  But instead of attempting mitigation as others have, they seem to be advocating that we simply throw up our hands and concede.

The rest of the world has taken a mitigation approach.

“World leaders have pledged to keep the world from warming more than two degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels, and agreed to try to keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” the Post reports but warns, “But the current greenhouse gas cuts pledged under the 2015 Paris climate agreement are not steep enough to meet either goal. Scientists predict a four degree Celsius rise by the century’s end if countries take no meaningful actions to curb their carbon output.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has moved in the other direction.  Trump has vowed to exit the Paris accords.  He has called climate change a hoax – something now contradicted by his own administration.

In the past two months, “the White House has pushed to dismantle nearly half a dozen major rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, deregulatory moves intended to save companies hundreds of millions of dollars.”

If enacted, “the administration’s proposals would give new life to aging coal plants; allow oil and gas operations to release more methane into the atmosphere; and prevent new curbs on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air-conditioning units. The vehicle rule alone would put 8 billion additional tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this century, more than a year’s worth of total U.S. emissions, according to the government’s own analysis.”

Administration estimates “acknowledge that the policies would release far more greenhouse gas emissions from America’s energy and transportation sectors than otherwise would have been allowed.”

Despite Donald Trump’s skepticism, “federal agencies conducting scientific research have often reaffirmed that humans are causing climate change, including in a major 2017 report that found ‘no convincing alternative explanation.’”

The Post reports that one internal White House memo has officials wondering “whether it would be best to simply ‘ignore’ such analyses.”

David Pettit, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who testified against Trump’s freeze of car mileage standards Monday in Fresno, Calif., told the Post that his organization is prepared to use the administration’s own numbers to challenge its regulatory rollbacks.

He told the Post by phone, “I was shocked when I saw it.  These are their numbers. They aren’t our numbers.”

So now the key question: how will climate change deniers respond to the data that is coming out of the Trump administration – can they continue to deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change in the wake of this information?

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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5 thoughts on “My View: Trump Admin Knows Climate Change Is Happening, Devastating, but Won’t Do Anything about It”

  1. John Hobbs

    ” how will climate change deniers respond to the data that is coming out of the Trump administration – can they continue to deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change in the wake of this information?”

    The same way they “ignore” Russian election hacking, misuse of the justice department, collusion with a foreign power et al. Trump doesn’t care about any of it, his people are there to serve him, so until Sara Sanders’ head finally spins off in a fit of self loathing none of the “facts” are relevant. We need to get rid of this guy and all his gruesome minions, soon.

     

     

    1. Jeff M

      The same way they “ignore” Russian election hacking,

      They don’t.  Don’t lie.

      misuse of the justice department,

      All the misuse of the justice department is will documented and accepted by the Trump Administration has being 100% from the Obama Administration

      collusion with a foreign power et al.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!   After all this time you people are still stuck on repeating that proven lie.

      Trump doesn’t care about any of it, his people are there to serve him, so until Sara Sanders’ head finally spins off in a fit of self loathing none of the “facts” are relevant. We need to get rid of this guy and all his gruesome minions, soon.

      Sure… and in those words are the echos of the collective mindset and behavior of the benevolent left… the ugly face of that anti-American side that the American voting republic continues to be reminded of why Trump is the President and why Republicans continue to dominate in the nations governance.   And lastly why the destructive and disgusting left needs to be continually defeated until they all get the therapy they need.

      Climate change is a lefty Godless religion and money-making scheme for many scientists and Algore.  There is plenty of common ground to be achieved with those viewing the topic from a more factual and pragmatic perspective, but the left will have none of that… for them it is like a Pentecostal speaking in tongues event… where we all need to fall to our knees and capitulate to the God of anti-industrialism for the sake of mankind.  Which is funny because it will be private industry that eventually reduces and eliminates carbon emissions.  Unfortunately they won’t be able to stop all the methane coming out of the modern Democrat party.

      1. Richard McCann

        Jeff

        What proof do you have that the Trump Administration has taken action to address the Russian hacking in the 2016 election and what is happening now? This analysis is quite convincing that it had an effect on the outcome: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/01/how-russia-helped-to-swing-the-election-for-trump.

        As for misuse of the Justice Department, of course the Trump Administration has only looked at what happened in the Obama Administration. Instead, there’s much documentation in the papers of record in this nation saying that the current administration is misusing the Justice Department to its own ends. Clear example: Justice defending the Trump Organization against two lawsuits on emoluments (foreign gifts & influence). https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/28/federal-judge-rules-emoluments-suit-against-trump-can-proceed/

        Sorry that you are in denial of science. I expect that you believe cell phones run on magic, and you’re certain that you’re house won’t burn down so you don’t have homeowners insurance either. In 1990, I conducted the economic analysis that led to the defeat of the Big Green Initiative. At the time climate science was very iffy and it looked premature to act. I then kept abreast of the science over time and have now concluded that the risk of climate change was so large that we need to act as though it will happen. It’s like insuring against wildfires in the foothills. You can be really stupid and continue to deny that there’s NO (as in zero) possibility that the risk is real, or you can acknowledge there is risk, and then the consequences are so large for even a low probability that you have to act with full speed.

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