Okay, Climate Change Is Real, White House Acknowledges, But It’s Too Late To Fix It

The Trump administration put out an environmental impact report a couple weeks ago and the content is, well, unexpected. While this particular White House is full of climate change deniers, the report boldly declares that global warming will be immensely devastating – so much so that it’s futile to try to do anything about it.

Specifically, the report comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it anticipates a seven-degree increase in average temperature by 2100.

Normally, the Trump staff would use a report like this to try to circumvent the accepted science on this sort of subject to justify why Trump’s latest policy to pause fuel efficiency standards for vehicles isn’t a problem. In this case, however, the admin uses the real science to argue that the consequences of climate change look to be so fierce and inevitable that fiddling with fuel efficiency standards one way or another would barely put a dent in the situation.

It’s shocking how little coverage this report has gotten given that it essentially says the new environmental policy is that we’re all screwed so we might as well give up now. Rather, it would be shocking how little we’re discussing this news were it not for the fact that no one talks about climate change anymore, even though it’s perhaps the only thing we should be talking about these days.

First of all, I call bullshit on this magical transition from the administration insisting that the science is too inadequate to take action on climate change to suddenly deciding the science is so damning that it’s pointless to act. How convenient for the denier crowd to jump from one extreme to another and come up with the same answer of, “Let’s do nothing!”

As the Guardian notes, this switch is no accident. Years ago, environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli predicted five changes of climate denial:

  1. Deny the problem exists
  2. Deny we’re the cause
  3. Deny it’s a problem
  4. Deny we can solve it
  5. It’s too late

Apparently, the Trump administration has begun shifting to stage 5 in this process. Granted, not everyone’s going to be on message and we’ll probably see people revert to some previous stages out of habit, but the important thing to recognize here is that there is not a single stage where this anti-climate crowd is going to show any interest in addressing serious problems. They’ll be obstructionists to the bitter end.

In this instance, the Trump administration’s science might be right, but that doesn’t make its conclusion of hopelessness the correct approach. Indeed, at this point, there is no avoiding so many of the consequences we could have prevented if we started working decades ago (if, you know, certain political forces hadn’t made that impossible.) That’s not to say, however, that the action we take today and moving forward can’t mitigate additional consequences or give this planet a chance at being inhabitable to some humans and animals alike.

Deferring responsibility on fuel efficiency standards is such a foolish cop out. Yes, we should be doing far more than any one intervention, but that’s no excuse not to take the relatively simple steps to reduce the damage. Future generations are counting on us to minimize our mistakes as much as possible so that they have a shot at continuing this experiment we call life.

Take Action

No doubt, the future looks bleak, but we owe it to ourselves to at least try and we need to try NOW. If the White House can acknowledge how terrible the science looks, they’ve got to also take accountability to fix the problem, not just shrug their shoulders and call it hopeless. Sign this petition demanding that the Trump administration take climate action now.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

94 comments

Amanda M
Amanda M1 months ago

Just another wimpy excuse made by the Tangerine Turd and his "ignore it and it'll go away" attitude. News flash, idiot: Climate change is VERY real, and it's up to us NOW to keep fighting to clean up our act to keep from making the problem worse. Unfortunately, with his rollbacks of the environmental regs and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, Twitler and the RRR are in fact EXACERBATING the problem and using "it's too late" as a total cop-out. Lazy, ignorant, arrogant SLUGS, the lot of them!!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Annabel,
Yes, based on recent data tells us what is happening now in Bangladesh. Is that not the best predictor of future trends? My main beef with those who believe we are headed towards global catastrophe, is that they blindly follow a non-existent consensus, based on models. Whenever someone present real world data, they counter that the models show...

Prehaps you are right in that we should call it a day on this thread. Nice talking to you.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini1 months ago

Dan B
Oh come on Dan YOU were the one to say 'Based on recent data, this is the PREDICTION for future rice production in Banladesh'.....

You say 'Kiributi and Tuvalu,....have grown in size.'. What about the Pacific islands which have completely disappeared or are fast doing so? See, among many other sites forbes.com/....new study finds eight islands swallowed and theguardian.com.../five Pacific islands lost. This is happening now, nothing to do with scare-mongering predictions.

But there's really no point in arguing with you as you will always find the one piece of information which negates the generally agreed consensus as to what is going on on the ground (by the way I find no trace of the Bangladeshi government clearing silt for shipping to pass, not something very relevant in the delta geography). I also suspect only you and I are continuing with this debate so maybe we should call it a day?




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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Annabel,
They are not predictions, but the reality of what has occurred over the past 50 years. I think we both want to focus on what is happening currently, as opposed to future predictions. The reality is that rice production has increased significantly over the past 50 years (from food shortage to net exporter), and any predictions of large crop failures run counter to established trends. This same scaremongering is reported elsewhere, due to predicted climate changes, but have not materialized to date.

Silt deposits are a great barrier to salt water intrusion. Unfortunately, they tend to be an inconvenience to shipping and other modes of transportation. Hence, the government tends to clear the silt, which allows for easier movement of both vessels and ocean water. This is similar to what occurred in New Orleans.

I did google climate migration in Bangladesh. Most of the displaced persons are due to cyclonic activity or river erosion. Very few are due to rising seas or salt water intrusion. Yes, people are on the move. However, just because someone lists them as climate refugees, does not mean that the cause is rising seas. The same has occurred in many Pacific islands, like Kiributi and Tuvalu, which have grown in size.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281549970_Climate_Induced_Migration_Lessons_from_Bangladesh

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-unfolding-tragedy-of-climate-chan

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini1 months ago

Dan B
Oh and there's Global Journal of HUMAN SOCIAL SCIENCE
Geography, Geo-Sciences, Environmental Disaster
Management if you can be bothered to read it!

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini1 months ago

Dan B
Funny that you are happy with predictions when they fit your theories (increased rice production estimates) but not when they don't. Yes, wildly innaccurate predictions have been made but I repeat, I am not talking about possible future scenarios but what is happening NOW. Try googling 'climate migration in Bangladesh' if you don't like 'effects of rising sea levels in Bangladesh' and read the reports by Science Direct, EJFoundation, bids.org, the Guardian article and, very interesting this one, blogs.scientificamerican, the unfolding tragedy.... I think you will find a consensus that people ARE on the move.

As for growing in size, yes as silt builds up more 'land' appears but is highly vulnerable to the next cyclone and bank erosion and is predominantly not suitable for agriculture. The most encouraging strategy seems to be building plant-based 'floating islands' but these can hardly provide a livelihood for more than a fraction of this vulnerable population. You may be interested to see the experience of the ex-rice grower who now 'harvests' salt. Doesn't that tell you something about increased salination? Not good for agriculture!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Annabel,

Ten years ago, there were claims that Bangladesh would be underwater by the end of the century.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/environment/bangladesh-set-to-disappear-under-the-waves-by-the-end-of-the-century-28392995.html

A decade later, the country has actually grown in size:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2017/11/14/experts-new-islands-solve-bangladesh-land-crisis

The hundreds of thousands appears to be one of those figures based around, without any reality associated with it. Hence, it does appear to be a scare story.

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Annabel B
Annabel Bedini1 months ago

Dan B
I can only congratulate you on your relentless optimism. If you google 'effects of rising sea levels in Bangladesh' you find pages and pages of reports not only on predicted future problems, which as you say, are merely modeled, but on the every day reality of what is already happening. Rice production may have increased in Bangladesh as a whole in the past fifty years, but the overall effects of already risen sea levels in the coastal area tell a different story. The various attempts at water management, what you describe as 'developing ways to manage salt water intrusion' are only proving minimally successful in some areas. Permanent land loss and salinisation are causing hundreds of thousands to migrate to the cities. This is happening, Dan, it's not some scare story about a possible future put about by doom-dealers.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

Annabel,
Well that was strange. First my post gets truncated, then garbled. Hopefully, the third time will be a charm.

First, my post was in opposition to the predicted consequences in Bangladesh. Catastrophe is not imminent. Rather, I was showing that rice production had increased dramatically over the past half century, due to many of the reasons listed. While not all reasons were due to global warming, the increase did coincide with the most recent warming period. There is no reason to think that what is actually happening on the ground would not continue into the future. Too many want to discount actually trends in favor of modeled prediction.

Second, the conclusion of my post reads, ... although it will not counter loss of coastal lands. Additionally, scientists have been developing ways to manage salt water intrusion, potentially eliminating any deleterious effects on crop production.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini1 months ago

Dan B
????????????????????????

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