Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Trump administration predicts that the world will end in 2040

Did they really? Naw. But when it comes to climate science they act as if nothing matters beyond 2040. Let’s start with a bit of context.

Ever since Trump started nominating cabinet and agency heads, I have asserted that his picks are predicted by a simple rule. For example, I posted Major fight looms over who will lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau back in November 2017.

My theory of the Trump administration can be expressed as a simple formula: X-antiX. As I said back in January, “For a given agency X, pick as its leader someone who is fiercely antiX. Then sit back and watch the carnage.” I then used EPA as a case study, but the formula applies to almost every cabinet pick.

I must now confess that I understated the danger. Consider Trump’s war on the judiciary, his dissing of his advisors, his battle with Congress, his failures honor subpoenas this stiffing the rule of law, and his politicization of a high level visit to Japan. When it comes to our nation, Trump himself is the epitome of the X/AntiX rule.

But even that stops short of another serious threat. When it comes to the health of our planet, Trump is AntiX.

The New York Times reports that the Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science. It’s not that Trump et al. have a position on human contribution to climate change contrary to what virtually all reputable climate scientsts agree. Now they are attacking science itself. Here are excerpts..

President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.

In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.

And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.

… parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The attack on science is underway throughout the government. In the most recent example, the White House-appointed director of the United States Geological Survey, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by that office use only computer-generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century, as had been done previously.

That’s important because the real consequences of what we do or don’t do before 2040 will be felt after 2040.

… Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

The administration’s prime target has been the National Climate Assessment, produced by an interagency task force roughly every four years since 2000. Government scientists used computer-generated models in their most recent report to project that if fossil fuel emissions continue unchecked, the earth’s atmosphere could warm by as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That would lead to drastically higher sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, crop failures, food losses and severe health consequences.

Scientists said that eliminating the worst-case scenario would give a falsely optimistic picture. “Nobody in the world does climate science like that,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton. “It would be like designing cars without seatbelts or airbags.”

Outside the United States, climate scientists had long given up on the White House being anything but on outlier in policy. But they worry about the loss of the government as a source for reliable climate research.

“It is very unfortunate and potentially even quite damaging that the Trump administration behaves this way,” said Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “There is this arrogance and disrespect for scientific advancement — this very demoralizing lack of respect for your own experts and agencies.”

You see? X/AntiX.

No comments:

Post a Comment