Washington Says Seven-Degree Increase Is Coming, Doesn’t Outline Solutions

A federal evaluation of fuel-efficiency standards says that while drastic climate change is imminent, there is little reason to do anything about it.

2 minute read

October 5, 2018, 9:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink


Pollution 2

Evanna Chung / Flickr

In August, an environmental impact statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that the planet would experience a seven-degree temperature increase by the end of the century. However, it did not describe the consequences of this level of climate change:

A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.

Instead, the statement argued that a massive and infeasible shift away from fossil fuels would need to occur to avoid this temperature increase. The Trump administration says that its proposed freeze on fuel-efficiency standards will not have a substantial effect on global warming.

Critics have pointed out the problems with suggesting that fuel standards be rolled back because their impact would be minimal:

Using the no-action scenario "is a textbook example of how to lie with statistics," said MIT Sloan School of Management professor John Sterman. "First, the administration proposes vehicle efficiency policies that would do almost nothing [to fight climate change]. Then [the administration] makes their impact seem even smaller by comparing their proposals to what would happen if the entire world does nothing."

Environmental advocacy groups, scientists, and public officials in the United States and from around the world continue to push for policies and actions they say will address climate change. 

Friday, September 28, 2018 in The Washington Post

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Aerial view of mid-density neighborhod in Newark, New Jersey.

Newark Kicks Off $1 Home Sale Program

The city sold seven properties as part of an effort to revive blighted sites and encourage housing production.

41 minutes ago - Smart Cities Dive

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

March 4 - Streetsblog California

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.