Trump Has Fun New Climate Strategy: Tell The Truth, Then Completely Ignore It!
The US government released an important new report on climate change Friday, and there's exactly one bit of good news here: Nobody in the Trump administration tried to alter the report or tell the team of scientists for the National Climate Assessment to present a rosy scenario. Instead, as the New York Timespointed out yesterday, Trumpworld seems to be pursuing an even ballsier strategy: Let the scientists issue their factual assessment of the damage that will be done by continued emissions of greenhouse gases, fine, like anyone cares. And then the Trump government will just go ahead and promote more coal mining, roll back limits on emissions, and let the planet become warmer and warmer, because fuck science and fuck you. Why bother bending the facts when it's easier and more profitable to simply ignore them? Fox News and Trump voters don't need any more convincing, after all.
The report itself reflects, yet again, the scientific consensus: Climate change is already here, it's caused by human activity, and unless we make significant changes to the way we use energy, it will get worse and worse. The first two sentences of the first chapter are about as blunt as you can get, in terms of both the danger and the need for action:
Earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.
Everyone who doesn't work for the oil bidness or the Trump administration (as if there were a difference) agrees: This is solid science. Naturally enough, Donald Trump said, earlier this month, that he had no use for the report at all.
"Is there climate change? Yeah. Will it go back like this, I mean will it change back? Probably," Trump said, making an ocean wave motion with his hand.
The actual report, of course, disagrees, because scientists all hate prosperity:
However, the assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid (Ch. 28: Adaptation, KM 2). Observations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilization has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts[.]
Oh, and as for "prosperity": The report also predicts that without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the US economy stands to lose about 10 percent of its GDP by the end of this century, with losses of "hundreds of billions of dollars per year," mostly due to loss of property and infrastructure. Having coastal cities get flooded and vast stretches of the West consumed by wildfires will do that. If Trump doesn't believe scientists, you might think he'd at least pay attention to insurance companies, which predict losses over the next decades will be vast. No amount of forest raking is likely to keep that from happening.
The quadrennial assessment, which is required by Congress, couldn't just be swept under the rug, so instead the administration dealt with the bad news through a bold new two-pronged Fuck You To Science strategy. 1) Instead of releasing the report as originally scheduled, during a major Washington DC scientific conference in December, the report was pushed out in a kind of mega Friday Night News Dump the day after Thanksgiving, while everyone is busy shopping. And since the administration has already decided climate change isn't real, they'll just ignore the report anyway, confident that no Trump voters will give a damn because science is simply an evil plot no one should pay attention to, as the Timesreports:
That view is supported by Steven J. Milloy, a member of Mr. Trump's E.P.A. transition team who runs the website junkscience.com, which is aimed at casting doubt on the established science of human-caused climate change. "We don't care," he said. "In our view, this is made-up hysteria anyway." [...]
"Trying to stop the deep state from doing this in the first place, or trying to alter the document, and then creating a whole new narrative — it's better to just have it come out and get it over with," said Mr. Milloy. "But do it on a day when nobody cares, and hope it gets swept away by the next day's news."
Yup: These fuckers are too lazy to even undertake the Orwellian step of rewriting the science. Instead, they're confident the people who already agree with them will keep voting for them, at least long enough to extract more billions from fossil fuel at least some profitable while longer. Who needs a government-run Memory Hole when you have Fox News, a parade of expert liars, all the money Big Coal can provide, and at least two more years in office?
In a rare episode of doing the right thing, we can at least thank media outlets for fighting the administration's effort to submerge the report. The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and other outlets have all called attention to the fishy timing of the climate assessment's release, and even three days later, here's the New York Times keeping the story not only on Page One, but at the very top of the list:
I applaud the @nytimes for refusing to let Trump bury climate news — and doing so by relentlessly leading with clim… https://t.co/b7Liii17jO— Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org (@Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org) 1543243471.0
WaPo also notes the attempt to bury the report seems not to have worked: Democrats have been making plenty of noise about it, and the report's authors also helped structure the report with an eye to grabbing local news stories, giving
regional papers the news hooks they needed to give the story prominent placement. Out west, papers such as the Idaho Statesman, Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Arizona Daily Star wrote headlines focused on the rising threat of wildfires. Back east, papers in coastal cities such as the The State in Columbia, S.C., and the Portland Press Herald in Maine featured front-page photographs of the destruction brought by flooding from hurricanes over the past two years.
The editor of the Press Herald wasn't about to let the administration bury any damn ledes, that's for damn sure:
If the release of the climate change report really was timed to bury the news, it backfired badly. It’s on the fron… https://t.co/nL5nFWLbTH— Steve Greenlee (@Steve Greenlee) 1543099682.0
And that, children, is how you keep climate on the front page when the wrecking crew is doing all it can to suggest that the arrival of winter storms somehow disproves science. Not easy, but necessary. Hell, it's only the capacity of the planet to sustain human life that's at stake.
[National Climate Assessment / Atlantic / New York Times / Scientific American / New York]
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