Dance of Death

The Washington Post reported today that:

Last month, 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.

A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many 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.

But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.

The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks 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.

A copy of the entire draft impact statement is here.

This evening, the NYT reported:

A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change.

The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

A copy of the IPCC Executive Summary for Policy Makers is here.  A portal that allows access to all of the IPCC material is here.

The crack investigative team at RBC has obtained a picture of officials in the Trump EPA reacting to the IPCC report:

6 thoughts on “Dance of Death”

  1. Is there any reason to think that officials at the Trump EPA will read the report?

  2. If the world burns, just think how badly Al Gore will be owned. “This is what you get for not warning us the right way. If you weren’t so smug and pedantic, we’d have fixed it a long time ago.” Conservatives can never fail, they can only be failed by disrespectful libs who fail to make their points politely and without condescension, in words even a toddler could understand, . Personally, I’d rather not drown or be burned, but that may be the price we have to pay for liberals’ failure to get conservatives to do the right thing.

  3. So, all the costly attempts to reduce carbon emissions helped even less than we thought. Will we learn the lesson not to throw good money after bad, or realize we need some better ideas before we go spending on them? And be more skeptical about climate models, too.

    1. Th IPCC thinks that current policy (commitments under the Paris Agreement) leads to 3 deg C of warming. This is a lot better than the situation before Paris. You don’t read of 8 degree scenarios any more.

      Some of us (Stuart, Hansen, Gore, Obama, Figueres, Kerry, de Brum, Fell, Stern, Musk, Jacobson, [very large set],…. me), are trying to fix the problem. Get out of the fucking way.

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