A massive new report detailing grave warnings on climate was released on Black Friday last week. The timing of the release by the federal government was questionable as it came out on the biggest shopping day of the year, and on an extended holiday weekend, when many were too busy to notice.
The National Climate Assessment direly warns that climate change may soon have a massive effect on the American way of life:
“The impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country,” the report’s summary states. “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”
The report mentions several areas in which climate change will affect our every day lives. “Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” the report warns of climate change’s effect on the economy.
The report also warns the although “communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change” all of the mitigation and adaptation efforts have not yet approached the scale “considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.”
The National Climate Assessment was endorsed by NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies and, as The Atlantic pointed out, “contradicts nearly every position taken on the issue by President Donald Trump.” Among these contradictions are the reports warning that vehicles are contributing to unhealthy ozone levels when the Trump administration has sought to loosen restrictions on car emissions; also that ignoring the Paris Agreement on climate change (which Trump famously back out of) could accelerate coral bleaching in Hawaii by more than a decade.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid,” begins the report.
The report has several more chilling conclusions:
Extreme hot weather is getting more common and cold weather more rare:
Over the past two decades, the number of high temperature records recorded in the United States far exceeds the number of low temperature records. The length of the frost-free season, from the last freeze in spring to the first freeze of autumn, has increased for all regions since the early 1900s. The frequency of cold waves has decreased since the early 1900s, and the frequency of heat waves has increased since the mid-1960s. Over timescales shorter than a decade, the 1930s Dust Bowl remains the peak period for extreme heat in the United States for a variety of reasons, including exceptionally dry springs coupled with poor land management practices during that era.
Extreme high temperatures are projected to increase even more than average temperatures. Cold waves are projected to become less intense and heat waves more intense. The number of days below freezing is projected to decline, while the number of days above 90°F is projected to rise.
Climate change has doubled the devastation from wildfires in the Southwest:
Climate change has led to an increase in the area burned by wildfire in the western United States. Analyses estimate that the area burned by wildfire from 1984 to 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred. Furthermore, the area burned from 1916 to 2003 was more closely related to climate factors than to fire suppression, local fire management, or other non-climate factors.
Shoreline counties hold 49.4 million housing units, while homes and businesses worth at least $1.4 trillion sit within about 1/8th mile of the coast. Flooding from rising sea levels and storms is likely to destroy, or make unsuitable for use, billions of dollars of property by the middle of this century, with the Atlantic and Gulf coasts facing greater-than-average risk compared to other regions of the country …
The report also concludes that “greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account” for planet-threatening warming.
Environmentalists worked hard to overcome the Trump administration’s horrendous, and most likely coldly calculate, timing in an attempt to bury the report in the holiday rush. Using the hashtag #ClimateFriday, many environmentalists took to social media to build awareness on the National Climate Assessment.
JUST IN: The U.S. National Climate Assessment is now public.
This is the report that the Trump Administration doesn’t want you to see. Years in the making, released on the day after Thanksgiving. #ClimateFriday
Here are some of the main highlights:https://t.co/fTqVopBccR
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 23, 2018