Why worry? We’re doomed anyway

It has become an article of faith among many conservatives in the US that fears of global warming are a hoax perpetrated on the world by a cabal of scientists who are using fake climate models and manufactured data in order to spread alarm and thus get money for grants or some such reason. The Trump administration seems to be fully invested in this belief. But then there was this curious news item about an environmental impact statement issued by the government that predicts that global warming will be even worse than some of the scenarios.

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 7 degrees by the end of this century.

A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 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 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 Donald 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.

“The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.

So after denying, denying, and denying the reality of global warming, we now have a sudden about face, saying in effect, “Yes, global warning is real and even worse than we thought but it has got so bad that we can’t do anything about it so what the hell, let’s party away.”

We are governed by truly awful people who don’t give a damn about the fate of future generations that will include even their own children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Seven degrees! We’re doomed!
    Oh, I forgot the US still uses Fahrenheit. That shook me for a second or two.

    That 4 degrees is a worst case scenario (at least for this week--stay tuned) but certainly not unreasonable from the non-tech stuff I read if we do nothing.

    Every other country in the world that has a functioning gov’t is doing something with various levels of effectiveness and the US régime says, “I give up”? Merde.

    Heck, how many US state and municipal governments are trying to reduce emissions?

    The really bizarre thing is that one must deny Climate Change if one is a conservative in the USA. This is not true elsewhere. There does not seem to be a right--left split anywhere else that I have seen, though it comes close in Canada where, I suspect, our Cons are being influenced by US Republicans.

    Where did this strange need to deny Climate Change to be a conservative come from in the USA, possibly the heavy influence of Christian fundamentalists on the Right?

    Congressman John Shimkus seems to be one of these. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7h08RDYA5E

    BTW, notice that Shimkus does not even seem to understand what he reads. God may have promised to not wipe out the earth, he/she/it did not promise not to wipe out 70% of everything.

  2. says

    It was buried in a document produced by a federal agency; doubtless someone (now looking for a new job) just snuck it in there on the assumption that nobody in the administration was going to read it -- because none of them read anything that’s not in crayon.

    I was surprised at the number of journalists who have latched onto this and see it as a sign of Trumpian nihilism. Every breath that asshole breathes is Trumpian nihilism, why bother looking for additional signs? Seriously. Look at what his administration did to EPA and CDC -- they are, literally, trying to bring some end of days scenario. Why? I have no plausible hypothesis other than that they are a bunch of selfish old fucks, who envy the young and want to leave them a smoking wreckage because their envy fills them with hatred. It relies overmuch on assumptions about inner states and thoughts but I think that for all intents and purposes, Congress and the administration should be assumed to be a bunch of geriatric psychopaths hell-bent on destruction for its own sake.

    Meanwhile. every sign and symptom tracks what the climate-change researchers warned us about. We appear to be on track for a 7 degree F rise assuming the clathrate stays frozen, which is absurd because it obviously isn’t. I’d say it’s 50/50 that we’re heading toward mass extinction, permian-style (especially when you factor in the collapse of the fisheries, which is happening.

    The “great filter” is signed “Malthus.”

  3. springa73 says

    It appears to me that most leading Republicans, and many Democrats too, have no interest in anything beyond the short term interests of a small elite. What is truly amazing to me is that so many ordinary people in this country (I’m from the US) actively support Trump and his allies. I think that in the future, looking back, this support will be one of the most puzzling features of the era, something that historians will debate and try with limited success to explain.

  4. Canadian Steve says

    What is very clear to me, looking in from the outside, is that the US government has surrendered to corruption and is simply trying to garner as much loot as they can before the whole system collapses.
    The amount of wealth accrued by government officials with relatively modest salaries is staggering. It’s very clear that this comes at a cost to the representation of the ordinary people in the country. While the current regime is crude and shocking in it’s nakedness, it has really just removed the curtain from what has been going on all along. It’s “sad, very sad, so sad” and after watching the pathetic corporate giveaway that was the Obama administration, followed by the attempt to hoist Clinton on the US, leading to the shambles that vaguely resembles a government now… well, it has been a good run I suppose, but a 200 year country and a 50 year empire is coming to a close. The only question that remains is how it goes -- slow breakup into smaller nations, violent revolution, or descent into chaos as the economy fails and the climate ravages the population.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 Canadian Steve
    the US government has surrendered to corruption and is simply trying to garner as much loot as they can before the whole system collapses.

    But the incredible thing is the complete lack of foresight or imagination. It is very hard to drive your Lamborghini when you are crouching a cave in the Rockies.

    Even the Mafia and the ‘Ndrangheta have more forward planning.

    The worst of it is, they are likely to take the rest of the world down with them though perhaps the country will collapse quickly enough that it limits the emissions of climate changing chemicals soon enough to help.

    The only question that remains is how it goes – slow breakup into smaller nations, violent revolution, or descent into chaos as the economy fails and the climate ravages the population.

    Very difficult to tell, but Chris Hedges interview with Steve Paikin (TVO) is not a cheerful thing. Though he does not seem to suggest any specific scenario, I get the feeling he is expecting chaos.

    Hedges is not that hopeful for us either.

  6. mnb0 says

    “That 4 degrees is a worst case scenario (at least for this week–stay tuned)”
    Indeed I’ve read 6 degrees (Kelvin), but not before 2100 CE.
    Frankly I think we’re screwed anyway. I’ve given up hope. Of course that’s not an excuse for me to party on. But 25, 30 years ago I had doubts if I should produce offspring. I decided to settle with two; in the end I only have one kid, my son. Several years ago I already told him that I would fully understand it if he decided to remain childless. As we have passed the point of return I think it irresponsible to have children. Of course many, if not most members of the species Homo Sapiens are irresponsible, especially on long term issues.

  7. mnb0 says

    Oh -- and indeed I stopped worrying. That doesn’t make sense anymore if I am screwed anyway. I never worry about inavoidable things; I just figure out the best way to deal with them.

  8. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 Marcus
    Apparently the DoD has been planning for it.

    I have not been following the US DoD thinking but it shows up in various climate change discussions. The DoD has been planning for climate change for literally decades—often, it seems, while pounding their heads at politicians’ reactions. I think DoD officially views climate change and its results as a major threat around the world.On the other hand, some US politicians don’t quite seem to grasp the problem.

    There is some plausible suggestions that one of several (many?) reasons for the uprising against the Assad Gov’t was the effects of early climate change.

    I remember seeing a video clip with, IIRC, the US Navy’s former chief oceanographer. He was describing how a congressman or senator had asked him why the Navy was concerned about rising sea levels.

    Apparently, most US navel bases are around Denver?

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