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The Trump administration has accepted the scientific consensus of
. However, it’s not being used to push for tougher environmental regulations — just the opposite, in fact. In a draft
for Trump’s proposed
, the agency predicts that the worldwide temperature will increase about 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) over pre-industrial levels by 2100. Rather than use that as an incentive to push for more drastic cuts in emissions, though, the report claims that there’s not much point. It’s allegedly “not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible” to move enough people to clean transportation to make a difference, the NHTSA argued, so why bother with tougher rules?
The problem, as MIT professor John Sterman
, is that the administration is cherry-picking statistics to make action
ineffective. It mainly compares its own weakened policies to the “No Action” approach, making the difference seem smaller than it would be if it was compared to Obama-era emissions cuts. The administration’s own studies suggest that even the car rule would pump 8 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere if companies don’t improve emissions on their own. We’d add that it’s a fatalist stance. Even if more substantial cuts didn’t do much, they would do
— even if it’s short-term improvements like reduced air pollution.
And while 7F doesn’t sound like much, it could lead to dire consequences. Global warming is already
, and that’s only likely to get worse if temperatures keep rising. The study accepted that droughts, flooding and other natural disasters were already happening as a result of global warming.
If there’s any consolation, it’s that automakers won’t necessarily abuse the looser rules. Most major brands are planning
of electric and
in the next several years. Moreover,
as more people decide to use
services and shared self-driving transportation. It’s just that these reductions in car-related emissions could come in spite of the current government, not because of it.
Reporting by Jon Fingas for Engadget.
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