7 Degrees of Perspiration
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts global temperature rise of 7 degrees by 2100.
A July environmental impact study released by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has predicted that Earth’s temperature will rise by seven degrees Fahrenheit (four degrees Celsius) by the year 2100. Scientists have warned that a temperature rise of this nature will patently have detrimental effects on the planet. At these temperatures, scientists predict that portions of New York and Florida will be underwater by the end of the century if we continue on our current path. However, the purpose of the statement was not to demonstrate the dangers of global warming. Conversely, it was done to excuse a new and harmful policy passed by the Trump administration.
NHTSA released this draft statement in light of President Trump’s recent decision to dismantle previous federal fuel-efficiency standards on cars and small trucks built after 2020. Although the proposal has indicated an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the NHTSA’s statement has declared heightened emissions minutiae among an ‘irreversible trajectory,’ a concept that is not scientifically corroborated. The 500-page document asserts that the cuts required to slow the warming are “not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible.”
“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, a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.
Considering President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate agreement––an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions––last year and his insistence that climate change is a hoax, things are not exactly looking good. Our country is already moving backward in regards to addressing climate change. In the last two months alone, the Trump administration has worked to reverse almost half a dozen significant rulings that were put in place to reduce emissions. This was done in order to save corporations millions of dollars. The proposals range from enacting looser laws around the amount of methane that oil and gas companies can release into the atmosphere, to relaxing power plants’ carbon limits. Each of President Trump’s proposals is as dangerous a regression as the last. Then again, can we expect anything else from policies introduced by a climate change denier?
Although they oppose President Trump’s personal beliefs, numerous studies conducted by federal agencies have concluded climate change is real and humans are the cause of it. One report released last year submitted that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for the warming the planet has experienced. In spite of this, there is a very strong resistance in the administration. As reported by the Washington Post, an internal White House memo chronicles the struggle of administration officials trying to decide if “it would be best to simply ‘ignore’ such analyses.”
Even though we may not have the power to reverse policies at the stroke of a pen, we still have power as citizens of this country. In times like these, two of the best things we can do are to get informed and to get loud. Dangerous policies that threaten any attempt to curtail climate change are introduced constantly, often with little coverage. It is important for everyone to do their best to stay updated and to keep their friends and family updated. The more light we can shed on these issues, the harder it will be for the administration to ignore them.