The list of attacks on climate science coming from within the Trump administration is long and depressing, and includes straight up removing the climate change page from the EPA’s website, planning to assemble scientists to debunk the idea itself, and of course dropping out of the Paris climate accord and undoing Obama-era (and pre-Obama-era) environmental protections. Today, we have another godawful example of this tragic irresponsibility. From The Guardian:
The Trump administration has told a major US government department to end predicting what the long-term effects of climate change will be on the country.
Director of the US Geological Survey (USGS) James Reilly – a White House-appointed former oil geologist – ordered that scientific assessments only use computer-generated models that track the possible impact of climate change until 2040.
Previously, they had used the models to predict weather to the end of the century, when the outcomes will be far worse without a massive reduction in carbon emissions. By imposing an arbitrary cut-off date of 2040 for these models, well, you get better results! Less of a temperature hike, fewer environmental catastrophes, lower ocean levels, and a more limited economic impact. Great idea!
Well, until you consider that life will keep happening and the world will keep spinning after 2040, and that simply ignoring potential consequences beyond a certain date does nothing to keep those consequences from arriving on schedule. It’s a maddening tactic—Reilly and the Trump administration want you to just ignore everything that might happen, and in service of that mission, they’re going to stop reporting it beyond a 20-year period…even though there’s no indication that the models are flawed in any way. If we ignore it, they’re saying, it’s not real. And that’s what they want you to believe.
And as the Times notes, it doesn’t stop there:
However, the goal of political appointees in the Trump administration is not just to change the climate assessment’s methodology, which has broad scientific consensus, but also to question its conclusions by creating a new climate review panel. That effort is led by a 79-year-old physicist who had a respected career at Princeton but has become better known in recent years for attacking the science of man-made climate change and for defending the virtues of carbon dioxide — sometimes to an awkward degree.
“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” said the physicist, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council as the president’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies.
You’ll never guess who brought Happer and his “climate science is Nazism” hot takes to the administration: War fetishist John Bolton And of course they’re all part of the Mercer family conservative network, a group that is like the Kochs on steroids. This latest corruption, though, is beyond even Bolton’s ambitions:
At the National Security Council, under Mr. Bolton, officials said they had been instructed to strip references to global warming from speeches and other formal statements. But such political edicts pale in significance to the changes in the methodology of scientific reports.
In the meantime, the energy industry will continue to be deregulated, and we’re not going to do a thing about climate change. Contrary to Republican fantasy, though, the effects will still be felt, before and after 2040.