Nel's New Day

May 6, 2014

White House Releases Climate Change Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:39 PM
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Loss of food and water, oceans pouring over cities, increased violence—these were some of the issues that the most recent United Nations report on climate change and the disasters that it will cause if people don’t do something to mitigate this disaster. Most people didn’t pay attention, and conservative media pooh-poohed any problems. Today, however, the White House has released a report on climate change in the United States in 2014—right now! Fox network will undoubtedly ridicule it, but this is what’s happening in our own backyard. That may make people a bit more nervous.

At 840 pages, the National Climate Assessment compiled by over leading scientists and experts—academics, businesses, and non-profit organizations, etc.,–shows that climate change is a present-day danger. A coalition of 13 federal agencies prepared the report detailing consequences of climate change on human lives such as health, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture, and weather.

The biggest threats are drought and wildfires in the Southwest; heavy downpours and flooding in the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains; and sea-level rise, especially in Miami, are the biggest threats in the United States. People living near the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska, as well as on inland rivers in those areas, will see more storm surges. In Alaska, the rapid thawing of permafrost is wreaking havoc with the state’s infrastructure.

The average temperature in the country has increased by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895 with more than 80 percent of that rise since 1980. The last decade was the hottest on record in the nation, and temperatures are projected to rise another 2 degrees in the next few decades with an even greater increase in northern latitudes such as Alaska. The increase in temperature has been slowed because the oceans have absorbed the increase in heat, but it cannot do so forever.

The report divides climate impacts into 10 geographical regions: Northeast, Southeast and the Caribbean, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest, Alaska, Hawai’i and Pacific Islands, Oceans, Coasts.

Conclusions:

  •  The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Some of the increases in the extreme weather and climate events in recent decades are related to human activities.
  • Human-induced climate change will continue and significantly accelerate if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to increase.
  • Impacts related to climate change, already evident in many sectors, will become increasingly disruptive across the U.S. throughout this century and beyond.
  • Climate change threatens human health and well-being, caused by more extreme weather events and wildfire, decreased air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water. It can also increase mental health problems.
  • Infrastructure is damaged by sea level rise, heavy downpours, and extreme heat and will only increase.
  • Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized in ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods.
  • Increasing climate disruptions to agriculture will become more severe throughout this century.
  • Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples’ health, well- being, and ways of life.
  • Ecosystems and the benefits are being overwhelmed by extreme events such fires, floods, and severe storms.
  • Warmer, more acidic ocean waters adversely affect ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life.
  • Current implementation efforts to plan for adaptation are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences.

Federal law requires the publishing of such a document, and this is the third time that it has happened.  The other reports were in 2000 and 2009. This is the first time, however, that the conclusions have been this dire.

Longer and hotter summers with shorter and warmer winters are causing more severe seasonal allergies, a change in thriving plants, and the types of birds that are seen. If global warming continues, water may not pour out of taps when they’re turned on, the lights won’t always go on when the switch is flipped, transportation will be more of a problem with transit outages, and food will be harder to find.

Today President Obama held interviews with eight TV meteorologists about the report. A 2012 Pew Research poll found that 89 percent of Americans rely on local television for their weather news and that 62 percent of them trust weather reporters on climate change far more than they do climate scientists. Unfortunately, in 2010 only 19 percent of these “weather people” believed that climate change is human caused. Charles Homans at the Columbia Journalism Review said, “Meteorologists live in the short term, the day-to-day forecast”—making them less prone to buy into long-term models.

On the Fox network, Dana Perino, now chief scientist and former White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, distilled the conservative attitude:

“Tomorrow, President Obama is going to do interviews with meteorologists all across the country about a new climate change report. I hope they ask him about Benghazi. Like, the weatherman from Montana should ask him about Benghazi. That would be great. I dare you.”

At the interviews, ABC News’ Ginger Zee asked the president about the Nigerian terrorist group that claims to have kidnapped 270 girls, Megan Glaros of CBS This Morning brought up the Keystone XL Pipeline, and several played with the White House’s two dogs. In contrast, Jim Gandy, a South Carolina CBS local weatherman, said, “The science has spoken, our world is warming.”  We need more Gandys!

The complete report is available here.

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