The Trump administration is now pretending it’s powerless against climate change

Credit: Kari Greer/USFS

The Trump administration appears to be adding climate apathy to its more typical denialism. Deep in the environmental impact statement for its recent rollback of clean car standards, the Trump administration predicts a global temperature rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century. Oh my, we better act now then, right? No, says the administration. Instead, it implies that this climate outcome would be so disastrous that any additional emissions from the car pollution rollback would hardly matter at that point. To be very clear: The fate that the Trump administration is now assuming is sealed (or rather, helping to seal) would be catastrophic. An extra 7 degrees (well past the Paris Agreement goals) would bring mass extinctions, extreme weather, food insecurity, political instability, the spread of infectious diseases, waves of climate refugees, and, of course, very intense heat. We can’t decide what’s more infuriating: the Trump administration’s feigned ignorance—or its feigned helplessness.


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