CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE
Today in Washington the third National Climate Assessment was released, a landmark report detailing the huge impacts of climate change in the US.
Compiled by more than 300 authors, the report covers past and projected impacts to conclude that climate change is already affecting every American region and many sectors of its economy and society, warning urgent action must be taken to curb further disruption.
The report, which the government calls the ‘the most comprehensive, authoritative, transparent scientific report on US climate change impacts ever generated’, is expected to steer US environment and climate policy during President Obama’s next two years in office, as part of his Climate Action Plan.
Outlining the growing body of climate science and increasing climate change-induced extreme weather events affecting communities and businesses across America, authors explain how 'climate change' means more than just hotter weather. For example they outline the large increases in heavy rainfall seen in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains between 1958 and 2012, as shown in the report’s graph above.
Importantly, the report points out how these regional impacts are expected to affect America's key sectors economically as well as socially - especially areas such as agriculture, energy, transportation, water, human health, forests and ecosystems - with the estimated costs of flooding alone amounting to $325 billion by 2100.
But the authors say there is still time to limit the extent of climate change’s damaging impacts: “Using scientific information to prepare for climate changes in advance can provide economic opportunities, and proactively managing the risks can reduce impacts and costs over time.”