In a shocking new policy position, the Trump Administration claims there’s no point in higher efficiency standards for new cars and trucks for reducing GHGs. There’s nothing new in that. They offered a completely new reason, however: because the reductions won’t make a significant difference in a world that clings to fossil fuels. Of course, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
NHTSA has put out a draft Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed CAFE standard that projects that in 2100, there will be 708 ppm CO2, 3.8 meters of sea level rise and 4 degrees C global temperature rise. It is already well-known that if conditions were to get to those levels, it would mean the end of the world as we now know it. Irreversible climate change would inundate coastal cities, and cause droughts, floods and wildfires of unimaginable scale.
It is breathtaking that federal officials can contemplate a future like that, and still conclude that protecting the assets of fossil fuel companies is the higher priority. Of course, they don’t say that in so many words, but the implied values are obvious. Our government is controlled by people interested only in money and power. Preserving a viable world for their great-grandchildren is entirely unimportant to them. This is profound sickness, both moral and psychological.
Before leaving this subject, however, it’s instructive to look at the other end of the policy spectrum: climate activists. It is shocking that they have consistently endorsed various transportation sales taxes that preserve the status quo for drivers, our State’s largest source of GHGs. Even the people that understand the consequences of climate change would rather stick with the familiar than make the massive changes required to preserve the ability of the Earth to support life.