By Michael Bastasch
A New York Times article on the limits of federal power in rolling back the green energy “transition” makes the prediction that sea level rise and heat waves will continue to get worse under President-elect Donald Trump.
NYT reporter Justin Gillis wrote “as Washington goes into reverse gear on climate policy, seas will keep rising and heat waves will get worse,” adding that “[i]f nothing else, the next four years may be a fascinating test of just how far politics can become divorced from physical reality.”
Gillis’s article is cautiously optimistic about the future of green energy. He said “the federal government actually has relatively little control over American energy policy,” but warned that Trump was unlikely to take necessary actions to fight global warming.
“To meet the climate goals embodied in the Paris Agreement, the world needed an American president who would have pushed hard to accelerate the energy transition,” Gillis wrote.
But that’s before Gillis delivers his prediction sea levels will keep rising and heat waves will get worse under the incoming administration. Two predictions some scientists expect to come true, ironically, no matter who was elected.
President Barack Obama’s pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 would only reduce projected global warming 0.03 degrees Celsius based on government climate models.
Trump promised to repeal these regulations while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to defend them. Trump also promised to reconsider participating in the United Nations climate agreement — that deal is also expected to have a negligible impact on projected warming.
Sea level rise has been observed for well over a century. Sea levels have risen at rates of about one-eighth of an inch per year since 1993, according to government data.
As for heat waves, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is actually less certain they’ve increased over the last century due to “lack of data or studies in Africa and South America.” Though the IPCC did say it’s likely “heat wave frequency has increased during this period in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.”
“The Paris Agreement is really an outline; more promise than reality,” Gillis wrote. “Mr. Trump has vowed to withdraw. Right now, other countries are saying they will go forward even if he does so, but it is not hard to imagine the thing unraveling.”
“As part of the negotiations, the Obama administration promised billions of dollars from American taxpayers to help poor countries adjust to the devastation of global warming,” Gillis wrote.