'I Don’t Believe It’: Trump Rejects U.S. Government Climate Report
President Donald Trump has dismissed a report released by his own government Friday that warned climate change could kill thousands of Americans each year and slash the GDP by more than 10 percent by 2100.
"I don't believe it," Trump replied when asked by reporters outside the White House Monday about the "devastating" economic impacts predicted by the report.
Trump: 'I don't believe' gov't climate report youtu.be
The report, Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, is the work of 13 federal agencies and 300 leading scientists. It states unequivocally that climate change is happening, is human-caused and will get worse if we don't take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action," the report authors wrote. "Decisions made today determine risk exposure for current and future generations and will either broaden or limit options to reduce the negative consequences of climate change."
But Trump did not appear to take it as motivation for new policy in his statement to reporters. He instead focused on what he thought other countries should do.
"You're going to have to have China, and Japan, and all of Asia and all of these other countries ... You know, it addresses our country," he said. "Right now we're at the cleanest we've ever been, and it's very important to me. But if we're clean, but every other place on earth is dirty, that's not so good. So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important."
In his remarks, Trump seemed to confuse climate warming greenhouse gas emissions with air and water pollution, but the two are related, in that climate change is already making America's air worse.
Air quality in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other California cities hovered between "unhealthy" and "very unhealthy" for more than a week this month because of smoke from deadly wildfires that California Governor Jerry Brown linked to climate change. The report predicts that air quality will only get worse if we fail to cut back on fossil fuels and the area burned by fires each year increases.
The report found that clean water is also at risk from global warming, The Daily Beast reported. Coastal flooding from sea level rise, strange pollination patterns and the displacement of communities will all increase water pollution.
Trump's remarks are in keeping with earlier statements. A month ago, he dismissed the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that urged unprecedented action for keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by casting doubt on the motivations of the scientists involved. "Who drew it?" he asked.
In a segment Monday, Anderson Cooper pointed to a pattern for discussing climate change that Trump has followed since 2014: "Namely, deny it exists, and just talk vaguely about clean air and water."
Anderson Cooper to Trump: Weather and climate are different youtu.be
Trump's aggressive climate denialism makes it hard for other Republicans to address the issue, USA Today reported. Few Republican lawmakers acknowledged Friday's report, and those that did either dismissed it or called only for vague solutions like "innovation" that would not disrupt the economy.
"All the proposals I've seen so far that would address any of these issues would devastate the U.S. economy and have little or no benefit that is demonstrable from our standpoint," Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee told NBC's "Meet The Press," as USA Today reported.
Bob Inglis, a former South Carolina Republican Congressmen whose nonprofit republicEn tries to shift the conservative stance on climate action, said Trump's stance put a damper on the party's action now, but could actually help it shift once a new president is elected.
"In a strange sort of way he may help us, because when he leaves office he's going to take climate disputation with him ... It's going to be so closely identified with him," Inglis told WNYC radio Monday, as USA Today reported. Once White House leadership changes, that might "let the adults in the room and the Americans who believe in solutions get with it."
#Obama Calls Out #Trump's Attitude on #Environment https://t.co/c5bMOWYYue @ClimateCentral @Greenpeace— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1538182809.0
By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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