To put it another way, climate change is already causing harm to communities across the United States—and it’s only going to get worse unless the U.S. and other countries take action to reduce emissions of warming gases and adapt to the warmer world.
Significant federal research released today on the effects of climate change on various regions and economic sectors in the United States and on ecosystems sends a sobering message in this regard.
As the report concludes, “Human activities are primarily to blame for the Earth’s climate changing faster than at any other time in modern civilization.” Global climate change impacts are already being felt in the United States and are expected to worsen in the future. However, the severity of future impacts will be determined in large part by the actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to future changes.
Although efforts to combat climate change have grown in recent years, they haven’t grown at the rate needed to avoid significant damage to the economy, environment, and human health in the coming decades, according to the report. Without a doubt “Over the next century, climate change will lead to increasing losses to American infrastructure and property, as well as a slowdown in economic growth, unless significant and sustained global efforts are made. The annual losses in some economic sectors could reach “hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current GDP of many U.S. states,” according to some scenarios, with a reduction in GDP of 10% or more “”States,”
Federal officials associated with the U.S. Global Change Research Program in Washington, D.C., noted in a teleconference today that the new report is designed to be “policy relevant,” but does not make specific policy recommendations. In spite of this, its findings are a stark contrast to the positions taken by President Trump and many of his senior officials. Despite repeated warnings from experts, they have repeatedly downplayed or rejected the seriousness of the threat posed by climate change to the nation’s security. President Trump intends to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, an international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he has taken steps to repeal a wide range of domestic climate regulations.
It comes at a crucial time for Democrats, who are just weeks away from taking control of the U.S, House of Representatives, as well. There will be a series of hearings in the House next year on climate change, which will be a priority for the incoming leadership.
House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) said in a statement that the report’s findings, which are expected to be released in January 2019, were “inconclusive.” “wildfires and storms are increasing in intensity, sea levels are rising rapidly, harmful algal blooms are becoming more common and dangerous, and the list goes on. As a result, there is still hope, but we must act quickly. Geoengineering and carbon sequestration are among the technologies that can help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate.”
First released a year ago, Volume I of the Fourth National Climate Assessment summarised climate science. This 29-chapter report is a follow-up to Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. A law passed in 1990 mandates that federal agencies submit reports on the state of climate change and its potential consequences at least every four years. They were put together by 300 experts, about half of whom do not work for the federal government. As part of the report’s preparation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gathered input from the public at more than 40 events across the country.
Concerns about the Trump administration attempting to alter or censor the report have been raised over the last year by some climate advocates. Federal scientists, on the other hand, insisted that no outside influence had been present. A climate scientist with the US Geological Survey who worked on the effort said, “The report has not been altered in any way to reflect political considerations.” However, many climate change activists have pointed out that the administration chose to release the report late on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the public and the press may be more focused on other matters..
What is the optimal number of wake-up calls? Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based policy nonprofit, asked in a statement. “Climate change is already taking place, and we need to do something about it, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment. The clock is ticking…. Sadly, the release of this critical report on the Friday following Thanksgiving clearly shows the administration’s desire to minimize its impact.”