‘The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care,’ claims Canadian eco-activist Bill McKibben in a Guardian editorial.
With enemies as unhinged as this, who needs friends?
McKibben is basing his claim on a few paragraphs buried within a 500-page ‘Draft Environmental Impact Statement’ issued by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and subsequently bigged up by the Washington Post as conclusive proof that Trump is the ultimate Gaia-raping super villain.
According to the report, on current projections the global mean temperature is going to rise by around 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. But, the report goes on – and this is the bit that is driving the greenies apopleptic – that’s certainly no reason for the Trump administration to abandon its relaxation of Obama-era fuel-efficiency (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks. After all, the difference it will make to greenhouse emissions would, in WaPo’s phrase, ‘add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket.’
There are many things that need to be said about this confected outrage, the first being: since when did it matter so much what the NHTSA says?
Sure it’s a branch of government, but not exactly the most pivotal one. And it’s hardly the go-to place to find out the Trump administration’s official scientific position on climate change, as its name – National Highway Traffic Administration – subtly indicates.
This lack of expertise may be the reason it came up with that extravagant 4 degrees C figure. Few serious people believe global warming will do anything like as much. (Given that we’ve only warmed less than 1 degree C since 1880, and since global warming has been at a ‘pause’ for 20 years now, something pretty dramatic would have to happen for that projection – no doubt based on some alarmist organisation’s dubious computer models – to be realised within the next 82 years).
But whatever the explanation – whether it was some intern getting his figures from some hyper alarmist report or whether it was put there by one of the many Obama-holdovers working, forgotten-Japanese-soldier-on-remote-island-style, to undermine the Trump administration – the report’s subsequent conclusion is spot on. Nope: Trump’s relaxation of CAFE standards won’t make the blindest bit of difference to global warming.
Nor, to repeat McKibben’s characteristically hysterical phrase – are this or any of Trump’s other energy and environment policies going to come anywhere close to ‘boiling the planet.’ The satellite data (the most accurate available), tell us that global temperatures have been falling sharply since 2016 and that the 21st century warming is half of what most climate models predicted, and slowing rapidly. Our bigger worry, right now, ought to be the threat of global cooling.
For better or worse, the Trump administration has so far decided against trying to re-examine the increasingly discredited ‘science’ of man-made global warming. Perhaps it believes that it is mired in enough battles already without taking on the resolutely alarmist scientific establishment. Instead, it has based its pro-market, anti-green policies – such as its withdrawal from the UN Paris Climate Accord – on simple pragmatic grounds. The people voted Trump for jobs and cheap energy: so jobs and cheap energy are what they’re going to get.
So it’s no wonder that Trump’s policies are driving greenies like McKibben into incandescent apoplexy. They can argue the science – or at least, their version of the science – till they are blue in the face. But they certainly can’t argue with Trump on the economics, because the economics are on his side.