The White House is planning to scale back long-term assessments (beyond 20 years from now) of how climate change could affect the United States and the world.
It’s been well-documented for some time now that President Donald Trump has serious misgivings about the science demonstrating that man-made climate change is real. His administration has responded accordingly, rolling back environmental regulations and taking the U.S. out of the international Paris climate accords. The president has even scoffed at a National Climate Assessment his own administration authored in November.
Trump, according to reporting from Grist last fall, said he read “some” of that report, but didn’t “believe it,” despite its dire predictions.
According to a recent report from the New York Times, the Trump administration is presently planning to go even further than denying the science. Now, the president is prepared to curtail the research itself in a drastic way.
One of the Trump administration’s top guys trying to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change says that “the demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.” https://t.co/1VsZsDMlam
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) May 27, 2019
While models have traditionally forecasted what the effects of climate change will be like well-out into the end of the current century, the plan by the Trump administration is to halt any computer-model predictions that go beyond 2040.
That specific date is problematic for a big reason: most models map out a scenario in which temperature increases stay relatively the same up until the year 2050. After that year, however, the rates of change go up significantly, depending on how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere.
Put another way, restricting models from going beyond 2040 leaves out 60 of the next 80 years or so of what climate change could look like. It’s a move that climatologists and other experts are speaking out against.
“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center. Duffy also served on the National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the most recent National Climate Assessment.
The restriction of research “reminds me of the Soviet Union,” Duffy added.
Pollutants from industrial power plants, cars, and other emissions-based technology have already led to levels of carbon in the atmosphere of 415 parts per million, the highest rate seen ever since the human species has existed, according to the Smithsonian.
Scientists largely agree that the higher rate of carbon in the atmosphere directly relates to higher temperatures, the result of the greenhouse effect on the planet.