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In a seemingly coordinated effort to minimize climate change concerns, the Trump administration is reducing environmental protection rules.
Now, they want to diminish scientific data that demonstrates its potential harms.
Last month, James Reilly, director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), ordered his agency’s scientists to limit climate change estimations to only predict effects until 2040. Up to now, models would assess climate change repercussions through 2100.
“Failing to look beyond 2040 [on climate science] is like pretending a baby born today won’t live past 21,” writes Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Fortunately, you can speak up by urging federal officials to rethink the 2040 rule!
Dear Director Riley,
Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing our country and world.
Please reconsider your new rule to prevent the United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists from projecting the long-term consequences of climate change. Your rule limits climate projections to 2040, where before they had spanned through 2100.
This rule does not reflect the self-stated goals of your agency: “Provide science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods… and the impacts of climate.”
Not projecting climate impact beyond 2040 makes it harder to gauge and prepare for the impacts our nation and world may face in the decades to come.
If climate change continues on its current trajectory, not only will our planet be at risk, but minority groups will be most impacted. Latinos, who already consume more pollution than they produce, especially face significant consequences.
Those in influential roles like you must take every necessary step to provide the latest climate science evidence and outlooks from now through 2100 and beyond to ensure a clean, safe future for our children and those that will follow.
Disagreements About Possible Impacts
Researchers say that limiting climate science data will paint an unrealistic picture of the future.
“The scenarios in these reports that show different outcomes are like going to the doctor, who tells you, ‘If you don’t change your bad eating habits, and you don’t start to exercise, you’ll need a quadruple bypass, but if you do change your lifestyle, you’ll have a different outcome,’” Katharine Hayhoe, the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and an author of the National Climate Assessment, told the Times.
Government officials push back against that idea. They said this rule is being implemented to reduce environmental alarmism.
“The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future,” James Hewitt, a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, told the Times.
Still, scientists say these projections, even “worst-case scenarios,” are accurately predicting what will happen given current emissions levels, according to Energy & Environment News.
One Aspect of a Larger Issue
Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken numerous steps to reduce the government’s role in assessing and fighting climate change.
Two years ago, President Trump announced the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, an international pact to combat climate change. Since that time, the EPA has also announced rollbacks on clean air, water, and groundwater regulations.
Scientists, business leaders, and environmental activist have all come out in opposition against some, or all of these initiatives.
“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center and a National Academy of Sciences panelist who reviewed the most recent National Climate Assessment, told the Times.
While this rule will impact the USGS and the National Climate Assessment, not all government agencies have ordered such directives, yet, according to the Times.
The USGS needs to hear your voice today!
Email Director Riley a comment, urging the government’s reconsideration of their 2040 rule.
URGE FOR CLIMATE SCIENCE!
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collaboration between Salud America! and the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) program at UT Health- San Antonio. To find out if you are TILTed due to exposure to everyday foods, chemicals, or drugs, take a self-assessment or learn more about TILT.