Buried in a 500-page environmental impact statement drafted last month, the White House projects that on its current trajectory, the Earth will warm by 4°C (7°F) by the end of the century if our consumption of fossil fuels is left unchecked. In its pages, the assessment not only accepts the prediction as inevitable but does not outline any steps to prevent it
Such an increase would cause coral reefs to dissolve as ocean acidity increases, extreme heat waves to tear across the globe, and coastal cities, such as Miami and Manhattan, to soon find parts underwater, as first reported by The Washington Post.
The report was drafted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to defend the White House’s decision to freeze federal fuel efficiency standards for light trucks and cars built after 2020 – if the temperature increase is inevitable, it reasons, what is the use of limiting greenhouse gas emissions?
“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,” Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the US Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002, told The Washington Post.
The assessment cites historical evidence that global average temperatures rose more than 0.5°C (0.9°F) over the century following the 1880 birth of the industrial revolution. Under the current trajectory, the world can expect to see a continuing rise in global temperatures, maxing out at 4°C (7°F) by 2100.
Combating such an increase “would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today’s levels and would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible,” notes the new report.
During his time in office, President Trump has made it a point to go against Obama’s climate change policies, from pulling out of the Paris Agreement last year to showing support for the coal industry over other upcoming renewable energies, like solar and wind.