On Climate, the Facts and Law Are Against Trump

In Environment On

A major governmental report released by the Trump administration recently projects enormous damages to communities across the country as a result of climate change. This new volume of the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment includes more alarming predictions than its predecessors did, and it officially puts the Trump administration on the record about the dire threats Americans face.

The report is likely to bolster anticipated lawsuits against the administration over its decision to vastly weaken the nation’s two major climate change regulations, which would limit planet-warming emissions from power plants and vehicles, the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The new report could play a key role in these lawsuits.

The administration lawyers who end up arguing these cases may find themselves turning to Carl Sandburg’s famous advice: “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

Now that this report is part of the official government record, the administration cannot credibly suggest that climate policies should be weakened. Prepared by dozens of experts and government officials, the assessment predicts hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from storms, crop failures, ruined infrastructure and climate-related deaths and illnesses. Stronger regulations to limit emissions are needed, it says.

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