States and cities compensate for Mr. Trump’s climate stupidity

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris compact on climate change was barely four days old when more than 1,200 governors, mayors and businesses promised to do whatever they could to help the United States meet the climate goals President Barack Obama had committed to in the agreement,” as the New York Times is reporting in an editorial.

“In a letter, titled ‘We are still in,’ they declared that global warming imposes real and rising costs, while the clean energy economy to which the Paris agreement aspires presents enormous opportunities for American businesses and workers.

“The statement was further evidence that Mr. Trump, as polls have shown, is out of touch with the American people. Yet this question remains: Can the United States meet its commitments without federal involvement? To many analysts, it’s a hopeless task: Mr. Trump has not only removed America from a leadership role in the climate fight. He has also ordered his minions to kill or weaken beyond recognition every federal initiative on which Mr. Obama had based his pledge.

“It would be unwise, however, to give in to pessimism.

“Some context: The Paris agreement committed more than 190 nations to a collective effort to limit the rise in global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial temperatures. To that end, Mr. Obama promised to lower America’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. That pledge was crucial to the overall goal; according to the think tank Climate Interactive, Mr. Obama’s ambitious promise would account for one-fifth of the hoped-for global emissions reduction out to the year 2030.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

25 thoughts on “States and cities compensate for Mr. Trump’s climate stupidity”

  1. Yes, there is debate out there driven by a number of sources that contest the anthropogenic climate change consensus.

    We are going to hear that science is not about consensus, and that is true, but science is about the preponderance of the evidence, and it is indisputable that the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence is that the climate is changing driven by human caused GHG emissions.

    We are going to hear that climate models can not be trusted, and it is true that models and direct observation are not the same thing. But the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence from non-climate model based scientific studies directly observing emissions, temperatures, and the impact of rising temperatures, both in our atmosphere and our oceans, tell us that the climate is changing.

    We are going to hear that the variation between human drivers and natural drivers of climate change are small…but that flies in the face of the fact that life on earth itself exists within such a narrow band of environmental conditions that even small changes can have huge impacts.

    We are going to hear that we do not know enough about the carbon cycle and its drivers that we should take no action…but we know quite a lot about the carbon cycle…and is it scientific to claim that 1) we can never know everything, and 2) as a result of not knowing everything we should do nothing? IF that were true we would have made no scientific progress in human history.

    We are going to hear that the cost of doing anything about the human drivers of climate change is too high…yet we know from the California example that we can increase GDP and employment at twice the rate of the rest of the nation and reduce GHG emissions at the same time.

    There is no rational or scientific basis for not acting on climate change. We can act and continue to study and learn at the same time…as a matter of that is what we have done all through human history…and proposing that we do nothing is fundamentally anti-science.

  2. Russ’s source, Breitbart, is well known for being an extreme right wing propaganda rag and like all things Trump, it is the promulgator of fake news that the gullible choose to believe over rational thought. Hey Russ, if a doctor told you that you had cancer and you sought another opinion, and they too said you had cancer, and you sought another opinion 100 different times, and 97 of those doctors told you that the cancer diagnosis was correct, would you still believe the three doctors who said they were unsure? Would you put your life into the hands of the cancer deniers? Only in this case it is not the life of one person we are talking about, it is the life of billions of people that are in jeopardy. Any prudent and responsible person would probably err on the side of caution rather than cast it to the side for ideological rather than scientific reasons. Better safe than sorry don’t you think? Apparently not.

  3. Steven, It would be helpful if you could provide some links to the “preponderance of the evidence, and it is indisputable that the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence is that the climate is changing driven by human caused GHG emissions.” so we can discuss the validity of that evidence. What were the drivers before there were human CO2 emissions? Natural CO2 emissions?

  4. “provide some links to the “preponderance of the evidence.” Jeezuz. Go to Google Scholar and type “climate change” and you’ll get 196,000,000 links. You don’t want links, you want to obfuscate the issue. Give us a break. One hundred ninety six MILLION links!

  5. Jon,

    Do all of those196,000,000 claim that humans CO2 emissions drive climate change? Really? What were the climate drivers during the Roman and Medieval periods, similar in scope to the modern warm period? It was not anthropogenic warming, so what were the drivers and why is the Modern Maximum so similar to the Roman and Medieval in temperature and climate, since as you claim humans were responsible for the modern warming? Skeptical Scientists are trying to answer that question, Consensus Scientists are running with the pack.

  6. Yeah Russ. You’ve said this before and had it locked down before, yet you publish it again and again in hopes of finding a believer. You know as well as I that the Roman and Medieval temperature anomaly was a LOCALIZED event. In the broader picture, “What is clear, both from the temperature reconstructions and from independent evidence – such as the extent of the recent melting of mountain glaciers – is that the planet has been warmer in the past few decades than at any time during the medieval period. In fact, the world may not have been so warm for 6000 or even 125,000 years” – (

  7. The link war is a waste of time. I know you and like you Russ, but the strategy of discrediting an individual study in order to call into question all studies, is not going to work for me. It is, whether you are conscious of it or not, a TACTIC in the climate change political war, not a scientific process.

    I talk to some of the smartest people in the world at UCLA, MIT, Yale, and sometimes at dozens of other universities, on a regular basis through either personal relationships or climate symposia and conferences. I choose to know and decide who I am going to trust….and I’m trusting the large rooms full of climate scientists with great big brains and degrees.

  8. The climate changers vs. deniers debate is much like the evolution vs. creation debates and ‘when does life begin’ debates. Boring. Trump is birther and denier.

  9. Gentlemen, if the atmosphere’s temperature continues to rise at the present rate, how many years would you say humanity has left?

    1. That is a tough question Judith because our species has an incredible ability to adapt, as evidenced by our inhabitation of polar regions and deserts. But the question is more one of what does that existence look like compared to the alternative.

      1. Thanks Steve,
        I am more concerned in how society will break down in a major global heat crisis.
        The heat debate puts me in mind an episode of The Twilight Zone titled, “Midnight Sun” that was burned into my memory when I was about 10.
        Incidentally, it starred the lovely Lois Nettleton of, “The Christmas Card”, fame.
        The story begins by supposing our world moving closer to the sun and how the massive heat and lack of water affected the characters.

        Here’s the prologue: (You have to imagine it in Rod Serling’s voice)

        “The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries—they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.”

        Personally, of late, I feel like we are already in the Twilight Zone.
        But that’s another story.

      2. Well there is no doubt that we are seeing increases in extreme heat events and that they have a significant cost in human health and direct dollars.

  10. The weather forecast for the next week or so goes from 20 degrees below normal and snow in the mountains this weekend to 14 degrees above normal for next weekend. A 34 degree swing in a week is not normal. Climate change is a hoax and a myth, yeah sure. Climate change denial is the hoax and perpetuating that hoax is wrong, plain and simple.

    1. Weather Chanel: 49 Degree Change in Two Minutes

      Imagine bundling up to get the newspaper on an early morning at 7:30 a.m. with the temperature at a frigid -4 degrees.

      Just two minutes later as you are letting Fido have a potty break on the lawn, you notice that the frigid air you walked out the door into is not so frigid anymore. You look at your thermometer and the temperature has shot up to 45 degrees. That’s right, a temperature increase of 49 degrees in just two minutes!

      The largest recorded temperature change in one place over a 24-hour period occurred on January 15, 1972 in Loma, Montana, when the temperature rose from −54 to 49 °F (−47.8 to 9.4 °C).

      We live in a chaotic world warmed by a variable star where normal is a human construction to makes sense of the chaos. Enjoy the chaos, it is going to be with us from now to eternity.

  11. Steve,

    You and the others who have posted comments here are welcome to believe what every you chose about the impact of human CO2 emissions and the impact this minuscule contribution to natural CO2 sources has on the earth’s temperature. The historical connection between GHG emissions and temperatures does not support the claim of anthropogenic warming proponents. Humans are not very useful in predicting the future climate of a planet in a solar system governed by chaos.

    “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” – IPCC TAR WG1, Working Group I: The Scientific Basis.

    We just do not know what the future holds; we only have climate history to guild us, it is a history of varying periods of stability interrupted by a warm and cold excursion from the norm, according to the Greenlands and Antarctic ices cores.

    As you can see for the last 10,000 years, the current interglacial period, the planet has been warmer than it has been over the last 200 years. The current computer models are not much help as they do not include the influence of cosmic rays, ultraviolet variability and cloud formation in the calculation of future temperatures. All critical factor for a planet warmed by a variable star.

    Believe whatever you chose, as time will be the only arbiter of this discussion, we will just have to wait and see what history brings us, a warmer climate or a colder climate.

  12. Russ I think if you are going to quote the IPCC report (2001) you should quote the full statement, which follows:

    “”The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. Rather the focus must be upon the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive and requires the application of newmethods of model diagnosis, but such statistical informationis essential.” IPCC TAR WG1, Working Group I: The Scientific Basis.

    The IPCC is saying that we cannot precisely predict the future climate state; however, we can produce a probability distribution of possible future climate states, which is precisely what the IPCC report proceeds to do. One simply cannot take a single sentence out of context (which is the definition of cherry-picking) and ignore the contextual sentences around it.

    In the next section of the IPCC report they go on to actually detail the potential future states based on the best available evidence, including modeling and NON modeled data. The report includes observational data and other lines of evidence.

    Your argument rests on two false premises. The first is that inaccuracies in models devalue other data that is not dependent upon models. The second is that a quote from the IPCC report in 2001 is still valid today. 15 years of additional information has been gathered, and where scientists were once hesitant to use predictive models, their confidence in their accuracy has increased due to corroboration by observational data.

  13. Russ, this is why the battle of links is usually counter-productive. You stated earlier, “Steve, it would be helpful if you could provide some links….so we can discuss the validity of the issues.”

    I provide a link, demonstrating that you took a single sentence from the IPCC report and failed to provide context and now you’re saying, “…believe whatever you want to believe….”

    The fact that you took a sentence out of context is not a belief, Res, it is a fact. I sourced it. Anyone who wants to can go look at the original text.

    But if you really want to dig into it lets go.

    You have two graphs on your blog post. Let’s just take on the first from a climate model run by University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist John Christy.


    You should know that Dr. Christy has since updated his chart and it now shows double the increase the original graph did:

    Just for the record Christy is on record saying climate change is occurring, temperatures are increasing, and that humans are a cause of climate change due to fossil fuel emissions. His case is that atmospheric models have not shown as much temperature increase (the graph) and that the planet has survived temperature increases in the past. According to the NYT, in an article published on July 16, 2014, and which Christy has redistributed on the UA web site, “Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places”.

    Digging into the data set used to create Christy’s graph it is clear that Christy only uses atmospheric measurements and satellite data. In other words, he did not filter into his graph and thus his assumption that there is no problem here ocean temperature increases over the time displayed.
    There are numerous sources that show that while atmospheric temperature did not increase as much as anticipated by SOME models (remember there are about 100 models being run simultaneously and the variation was within the sensitivity of some of the models) ocean temperature rose as fast or faster than anticipated. The ocean holds a lot of heat.

    Finally, there is a fundamental problem with how Christy was relying on satellite data…they were not being appropriately adjusted for changes in altitude and time of measurement of temperature.

  14. Russ, I’m not sure why your original Christy graph did not show up. Readers can simply go to your web site on the previous post and compare the two Christy graphs.

    1. I am not sure what you are referring to Judith. I don’t see anywhere where I have characterized the change as “isolated weather events.” The science shows that it is the inexorable increase you describe that is the risk–Dr. Alex Hall of UCLA crunched climate models from more than 40 intermediate scenario sources showing a potential increase of 7-11 ºF in the Sierra which would be literally catastrophic–indeed with even half of that change life would be very unusual.

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