As global warming accelerates, “regulatory reform” seeks to put pedal to metal
The day after the U.S. presidential election, François Hollande, President of the French Republic, expressed concerns about America’s continued participation in global efforts to combat climate change. The president-elect famously declared global warming a hoax “created by and for the Chinese.”
He also said, during a May 26 energy policy speech in North Dakota, that he opposed “draconian climate rules,” promising to erase “all the job-destroying Obama executive actions, including the Climate Action Plan.” Of particular concern to Hollande was the president-elect’s promise to “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
Nations that signed and ratified the Paris accord, including the U.S. and China, are ostensibly locked in a furiously paced race to meet the agreement’s primary goal of maintaining global average temperatures under +2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-Industrial averages. Most climate scientists agree that, right now, warming is accelerating much faster than any efforts to curtail it.
As I’m writing this, news has broken that the president-elect has chosen Myron Ebell to lead his transition team at the EPA. Ebell, a “climate skeptic,” comes from the Center for Energy and Environment. It’s no coincidence that they put “Energy” before “Environment.”
The strategy is awfully simple: Roll back regulations so that old-fashioned energy companies can make even more money. They’re pawning the very survival of the planet, in order to bask in the glow of engorged profits now.
So, the news has not been good the past few days for climate change remediation. Among members of the soon-to-be ruling party in the U.S., talk about “regulatory reform” is swift. Of course, what they’re really talking about is regulatory reduction.
In contrast, Dr. James E. Hansen, a world-renowned atmospheric physicist and former NASA climatologist, stated many months ago that the only responsible path to significantly slowing warming is a total ban on fossil fuels effective immediately. Even a U.S. agreement to go half way towards Dr. Hansen’s recommendation is worlds—light years—away from the reality of the president-elect’s energy goals and policies.
America, then, has entered into a wildly irresponsible experiment wherein—at least for a few years—denial of human-activity-caused global warming is official policy and the law of the land. This experiment will test the patience of, and strain relationships with, our global neighbors. The second and third biggest carbon polluters—China and Russia—will certainly be tempted to follow the lead of the top, per-capita polluter by far, the United States.
The rest of the world, similarly, will wonder why they ought to keep their commitments to the Paris Agreement, when the American president-elect has shouted from the rooftops his intention to “cancel” it.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about humankind’s mad dash at self-annihilation. When the flooding begins in earnest, make no mistake, the American elite class will take refuge upon the higher ground they own. Believe this: Oil magnates do not intend to drown.