It’s no secret that the Trump administration is actively antagonistic toward the reality of climate change. But according to a New York Times story published on Monday, the government isn’t just preparing to stand by as the worst of climate catastrophe comes to fruition—it’s going to actively make things worse.
The Times reports that in the coming months, the administration will not only continue its rollback of Obama-era policies to curb CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, but also influence other countries to adopt Trump’s climate denialism as policy. Good luck getting China, Japan, and the Netherlands to co-sign that.
Worst of all, however, is that the Trump administration is actively trying to kill efforts within the federal government to understand what climate change will do, which is decidedly extremely important for a country where 40 percent of people live in coastal counties. The Times passes this move off as Trump’s own neuroses about the deep state rather than opposition rooted in ideology, but when this is the result, what’s the actual difference?
According to the Times:
As a result, 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.
Not only that, but the National Climate Assessment—the last of which scientists leaked to the New York Times in 2017, showing that the average annual temperature could rise by as much as 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century—will now not “automatically” include “such worst-case scenario projections,” administration officials told the Times.
“The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future,” EPA spokesperson James Hewitt told the Times in an email.
There really are no words for how deeply stupid and careless all of this is. If anything, Americans aren’t concerned enough about the damage that climate change is doing; not giving us accurate information about what the world will look like in 30, 50, or 100 years just exacerbates that problem. Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity since maybe the Black Plague, and the Trump administration is reacting to that problem by doing the equivalent of encouraging people to pet the rats.
The problem boils down to this: Donald Trump is an old billionaire who will be dead in 10 years anyway, and as a selfish bastard who only cares about himself, he just can’t muster up the ability to care about the future of the country or the planet. His family will be fine, and anyway, a lot of those coastal counties voted against him anyway, so fuck ‘em. But whether or not it’s simple negligence or outright evil is irrelevant—if we don’t take radical action now, we’re going to get the same result in the end.