The 1,000-page climate report released by the White House Friday quantifies the staggering cost of President Trump’s climate science denial.
The congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) by hundreds of the country’s top scientists warns that a do-nothing climate policy will end up costing Americans more than a half-trillion dollars per year in increased sickness and death, coastal property damages, loss of worker productivity, and other damages.
Building on a 600-page analysis of climate science from 2017, the NCA details just how dangerous Trump administration’s policy of climate inaction is to Americans.
The White House oversaw the report’s review and clearance process — and tried to bury the findings by releasing it at 2 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
But the reality of climate change cannot be buried. Indeed the report concludes that “the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.”
The NCA projects a devastated America on our current path of unrestricted carbon pollution—widespread Dust-Bowlification and 7°F to 8°F warming over the entire inland portion of the country, even as coastal America is slammed by sea levels rising a foot per decade, resulting in ever-worsening storm surges.
The report concludes that if governments meet their Paris targets, and then go beyond them, overall damage can be limited (the RCP4.5 scenario, in which temperatures rise some 4°F by century’s end). But the NCA makes clear that with policies that undercut the Paris targets — such as Trump’s pledge to withdraw from Paris and boost domestic carbon pollution from fossil fuels — catastrophic impacts would be inevitable (the RCP8.5 scenario, where temperatures rise by 7°F or more).
One final point: The report warns ominously, “It is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent.”
The choices we make today won’t just determine the degree of harm we do to our children and grandchildren, but to the next 50 generations and beyond. The immorality of Trump’s climate policies simply cannot be quantified.