Take Global Warming Seriously
Delegates from more than 130 countries have assembled in South Korea this week to assess where the world stands in the effort to hold global warming to no more than a 1.5-degree Celsius, or 2.7-degree Fahrenheit increase. That level is the goal of the 2015 Paris Accord, from which President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States, making it the only country on the planet not aligned with the goal. The group now in Incheon, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, need only look, oddly enough, to the Trump administration for an estimate of just how far short the world is of reaching that goal. Trump himself has characterized global warming as a “hoax” and “nonsense.” Yet, a draft report by an executive branch agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, not only characterizes warming as a given but as inevitable. The document is in support of a Trump initiative to roll back mileage standards and to preserve the use of fossil fuels. It contends it is technologically infeasible to move vehicle fleets away from fossil fuels, even though that movement is well under way. According to the NHTSA, global temperatures will rise 7 degrees Fahrenheit, about 4 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century. Such an increase would put major U.S. coastal cities mostly under water, while ensuring broader inland droughts and costly severe weather. Given the obvious impacts of global warming over just the last few years, the objective must be opposite the Trump initiative — not preserving fossil-fuel use at all costs, but developing the technology to diminish that use.