The cheers from environmentalists are still ringing loud from President Barack Obama’s success in passing the nation’s most serious action against warming emissions. But scientists that have based their entire careers on the study of climate change have one thought about the latest rules: “practically worthless.”
Those were the words of James Hansen, a climate researcher who headed NASA’s Goddard’s Institute for Space Studies for over 30 years and first warned congress of global warming in 1988. “They do nothing to attack the fundamental problem,” Hansen stated.
MSNBC reported that climate scientists like Hansen feel that Obama’s plan does not go nearly far enough. They claim that the legislation is meek and dangerously self-congratulatory, sapping the movement of urgency while doing almost nothing to maintain the future habitability of the earth.
When asked if the plan would make continued climate activism unnecessary, Hansen replied, “You’ve got to be kidding. He added that Obama’s plan and the proposed plan of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, “is like the fellow who walks to work instead of driving, and thinks he is saving the world.”
“As long as fossil fuels are allowed to (appear to be) the cheapest energy, someone will burn them,” he wrote in an email to MSNBC. “It is not so much a matter of how far you go. It is a matter of whether you are going in the right direction.”
On Tuesday, Climate Action Tracker released a study that claimed Obama’s regulations would reduce America’s economy-wide emissions by “roughly 10 percent” beyond the current pace. While reduction of any kind is a cause for celebration, it’s not a call for mission accomplished. Slate’s meteorologist, Eric Holthaus, recently estimated that Obama’s plan cuts emissions only about a third of what researchers like Hansen say is necessary.
The current measurement of whether emission policy is sufficient or valuable is essentially the legislation’s impact on the rising global temperature by 2C (3.6F), the agreed tipping point of climate change by most scientists. Of course, no one country can do this alone, but America does have a major responsibility, considering we are in the top 5 for GHG emissions per capita.
MSBC reported that even with the current Clean Power Plan, and the recent plans announced by China and Brazil and others, the world is on pace for about 3 degrees of warming by 2100.