Trump administration refuses to consider that 97% of climate scientists could be right

Last week, the Washington Post obtained a White House internal memo that debated how the Trump administration should handle federal climate science reports.

The memo presented three options without endorsing any of them: conducting a “red team/blue team” exercise to “highlight uncertainties in climate science”; more formally reviewing the science under the Administrative Procedure Act; or deciding to just “ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science being conducted by Federal agencies and outside entities.”

In short, the White House considered ‘debating’ established climate science, casting doubt on scientists’ conclusions, or just ignoring them. Accepting and/or acting on the findings of the scientific experts is not an option they’re willing to consider.

Katharine Hayhoe?@KHayhoe

So according to this memo, the administration considered 3 options--(1) framing reality as being up for debate; (2) developing their own view of reality; or (3) ignoring reality--and went with option 3.

Interesting that "accepting reality" was not an option. 

Climate denial is very expensive

Meanwhile, a paper published in Nature last week concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures would save more than $20tn as compared to a temperature of 2°C. The carbon pollution cuts needed to achieve the 1.5°C target would cost about $300bn more than efforts to meet 2°C. In other words, the economic benefits of the more aggressive target would outweigh its costs by a factor of about 70-to-1.

Current international climate policies will only limit global warming to about 3–3.5°C global warming, and America’s policies are “critically insufficient” to meet either the 2°C or 1.5°C targets. Under the Trump administration, the US has no plans to try and cut its carbon pollution, and in fact the administration has been taking every possible step to undo established climate policies and increase pollution from the coal and oil industries, even though global warming will especially hurt Trump country.

Basically, taking aggressive action to curb global warming would save the world a lot of money, and it would especially benefit the economies in southern, conservative states. But it wouldn’t be good for the fossil fuel industry, and the Trump administration has prioritized short-term corporate profits above all else, including American welfare and lives.

Ignoring experts is stupid

There’s a 97% expert consensus that humans are causing global warming, and the scientific research is clear that the consequences of continued rapid climate change could be devastating for the economy and for all species on Earth.

The case for the Trump administration approach – ignoring and casting doubt on the conclusions of climate science experts – is that of a bad gambler. It’s not a 100% consensus; maybe the less than 3% of climate contrarians are onto something. Perhaps the experts are wrong and climate change won’t be so bad.

If the stakes were something inconsequential like a Trump steak, that would be fine, but it should go without saying that betting the future of humanity and life on Earth on a less than 3% long shot is a bad idea. The stakes could not be higher. Prudent risk management dictates that we should be taking serious steps to mitigate the chances of such a disastrous outcome. That’s why Americans buy home and auto and health insurance. It’s why fewer than 17% of Americans today are smokers, down from 42% in 1965.

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Posted by dana1981 on Tuesday, 29 May, 2018

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