By Paul Homewood

h/t Robin Guenier

Michael Mann seems to be having trouble with his abacus!

Michael Mann, one of the most eminent climate scientists in the world, believes averting climate catastrophe on a global scale would be “essentially impossible” if Donald Trump is re-elected.

A professor at Penn State University, Mann, 54, has published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers, testified numerous times before Congress and appeared frequently in the news media. He is also active on Twitter, where earlier this year he declared: “A second Trump term is game over for the climate – really!”, a statement he reaffirmed in an interview with the Guardian and Covering Climate Now.

“If we are going to avert ever more catastrophic climate change impacts, we need to limit warming below a degree and a half Celsius, a little less than three degrees Fahrenheit,” Mann said. “Another four years of what we’ve seen under Trump, which is to outsource environmental and energy policy to the polluters and dismantle protections put in place by the previous administration … would make that essentially impossible.”…

Mann denies that it’s a partisan statement to say that four more years of Trump would mean “game over” for the climate.

“It is a political statement, because it speaks to the need to enact policies to deal with climate change,” he says. “But it isn’t partisan to say that we should act on this crisis.”

It’s also a scientific statement, Mann adds. Two years ago this month, scientists with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark study, Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees, which found that humanity had to cut heat-trapping emissions roughly by half by 2030 to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. Headlines warned we had “12 years to save the planet”. Those 12 years are now 10.

Except more than two years have been lost, because in that time, the Trump administration has prevented the world’s biggest economy from making “the dramatic reductions that were necessary to keep us on that path” of halving emissions by 2030, Mann says. “So now the incline is steeper. It’s no longer 5% [reductions] a year for the next 10 years. It’s more like seven and a half per cent.” (As a comparison, 7% is how much global carbon emissions are projected to fall in 2020 due to the Covid-19 economic lockdowns that shrank driving, flying and other carbon-intensive activities.)

The numbers get unrealistically challenging if Trump gains another four years as president.

“Four more years of relative inaction, of flat emissions, means that four years from now that number might be closer to 15% [emissions reductions] a year,” Mann says. “And that may be, although not physically impossible, societally impossible. The rate at which we shift away from a fossil-fuel-driven infrastructure, it just may not be economically possible or socially viable to do it that [fast].”

Since Trump was elected in 2016, US emissions have fallen slightly by 1.5%, from 5042 to 4964 MtCO2 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Rest of the World’s emissions have risen by 1311 MtCO2, an increase of 4.6%.

BP Energy Review

Even if the US had been cutting at the rate demanded by Mann, global emissions would still have risen sharply. It is also worth pointing out that under the saintly Obama’s second term, emissions only fell by 48 MtCO2, which is less than Trump has achieved.

No doubt, Mann would argue that if Trump was setting a better example, the rest of the world would follow him over the cliff. But this is bunkum. The likes of China, India and most other countries are are still following their pledges made under the Paris Agreement, which expressly allowed them to carry on increasing emissions up to 2030.

For some reason, Mann conveniently ignores this fact, which suggests this latest intervention is politically motivated, and has nothing to do with the climate.


October 11, 2020 at 05:00AM