Loosen CO2 restrictions because planet is already doomed, US report urges

1 Oct 2018

A car emitting fumes from its exhaust pipe. Image: Paolo Bona/Shutterstock

A shocking admission from members of Trump’s government claims that we may as well loosen carbon restrictions because we’re already doomed.

US president Donald Trump’s opinions on climate change are now pretty well known following his statements on ‘clean coal’ and his desire to pull his country out of the Paris Agreement.

But a recent admission included in a 500-page environmental impact statement made by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shocked environmental advocates not because it calls for a loosening of emission restrictions, but why it justifies it.

According to The Washington Post, the report claims that if the planet were to continue polluting at a scale seen today, the world will be four degrees Celsius warmer by the end of the century.

Alarmingly, in the eyes of the NHTSA, Trump’s decision to freeze the country’s fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks should be enacted because the planet is doomed anyway.

In its view, the 8bn tonnes of CO2 that would be put into the atmosphere as a result of such a policy freeze would be negligible compared with pollution happening in other sectors and across the planet. This is despite the fact that such a rise in temperature would be catastrophic for the planet, warming seas to the point that the world’s coral reefs would be completely destroyed, and many coastal regions submerged in water.

Contradiction at its finest

“The amazing thing they’re saying is, human activities are going to lead to this rise of CO2 that is disastrous for the environment and society,” said Michael MacCracken, a former senior scientist of the US Global Change Research Program. “And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it.”

Other proposals made by the Trump government aim to reignite industries contributing significantly to climate change, including coal, oil and gas. There are also plans to roll back decades-old environmental initiatives, such as using greenhouse gases in refrigerators and air conditioning units.

In the same week that UN secretary general António Guterres said at a summit that “our future is at stake” if we don’t reverse our current emissions in the next two years, research has found that plants in the Arctic are getting taller because of warming conditions.

A car emitting fumes from its exhaust pipe. Image: Paolo Bona/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic