It's not that the Trump administration doesn't believe in climate change. It just doesn't want to do anything about it.
In a 500-page draft environmental impact statement concerning the EPA's and NHTSA's joint proposal to roll back fuel-economy and emissions regulations, the NHTSA reports that it expects global temperatures to rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit (about 4 degrees Celsius) by 2100, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The administration doesn't plan to address it, according to the statement.
Climate scientists have identified a global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times as a limit to avoid catastrophic climate effects. Under the Paris Climate Accord, every country except the U.S. has agreed to that target as an upper limit. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris agreement.
The draft acknowledges that human activities contribute to global warming, but essentially concludes that curbing U.S. vehicle emissions alone is not enough to solve it. The NHTSA estimates that the proposal to freeze fuel-economy standards through 2026 would increase global warming by 0.003 degrees Celsius.
In the summary on page 12, the statement says: "Human activities, particularly fossil‐fuel combustion, have been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as primarily responsible for increasing the concentrations of [greenhouse gases] in the atmosphere; this buildup of GHGs is changing Earth’s energy balance."
One hundred and sixty pages later, the statement adds: "achieving [greenhouse-gas] reductions from the passenger car and light truck vehicle fleet to the ... degree that emissions reductions will be needed globally ... would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today’s levels and would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to substantially move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically practicable."
Scientists have linked increases in global warming to higher frequency of powerful hurricanes, extreme global heat waves, and sea level rise that would inundate Manhattan and Miami or require costly coastal defenses.
As expensive as mitigating climate change would be, however, several scientific studies have shown that efforts to adapt to it will be even more costly.
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