The current administration’s view of global warming may understatedly be considered cold. Trump’s call for “a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming” during a heavy snowstorm or the decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate accord are a few examples. While the administration, unfortunately, has the right to adopt, decimate, and extend their position on greenhouse gases and advance U.S. fossil fuel interests; dangerously, policy has been passed which confines the findings of climate science studies. James Reilly, a former astronaut, petroleum geologist, and the director of the United States Geological Survey has ordered that computer-generated climate change models limit their forecast to 2040, rather than the previous end of century time frame.
Riley’s answer to the limitation of the report explained,
“We’re looking for answers with our partners and to get statistical significance from what we understand.”
The administration’s target is the National Climate Assessment, a model produced through an interagency task force every four years. The last report predicted as much as an eight degrees Fahrenheit increase by the end of the century. This eight-degree increase is predicted to have consequences such as sea-level rise, volatile climate events (storms and droughts), decreased biodiversity, and general health consequences of the earth system and the human population.
The next National Climate Assessment model, expected to be realized in 2021 or 2022, will not project scenarios which forecast a complete picture of the climate’s future. Climate data is stationary in the sense that the future will be highly correlated with past data. Commonly accepted, greenhouse gases will increase as fossil fuels are burned and the temperature of the atmosphere will increase.
Yet, the administration’s intervention confines climate science’s essential surveillance, research innovation, and scientific advancement. The limitation would present a falsely optimistic picture of the state of our environment. If the administration is not concerned about the effect of greenhouse gases, why limit the decimation of data that will serve as the foundation of nationwide scientific decision-making?
Additionally, an unaltered assessment, as The New York Times reported, could create legal problems for the President’s agenda towards abolishing Obama era environment governance, such as regulations to curb greenhouse gas emission from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks.
The future of U.S. greenhouse gas production maintains a formidably devastating direction without a future policy change.
Let’s speak out against this hypocrisy and send James Reilly a message that politics should be separated from science.