Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, damaging everything from human health to infrastructure and agricultural production, according to a government report issued on Friday.
The Congressionally-mandated report, written with the help of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and departments, outlined the projected impacts of global warming in every corner of American society, in a dire warning at odds with the Trump administration’s pro-fossil fuels agenda.
“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century – more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states,” according to the report.
It said global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor, broadly undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming to energy production.
While it said that many of the impacts of climate change – including more frequent and more powerful storms, droughts and flooding – are already underway, the projections of further damage could change if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply curbed: “Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today,” it said.
The report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, supplements a study issued last year that concluded humans are the main driver of global warming, and which warned of potentially catastrophic effects to the planet.
The studies clash with policy under President Donald Trump, who has been rolling back Obama-era environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels, including crude oil, already the highest in the world, above Saudi Arabia and Russia. [Continue reading…]
Residents of the western United States should prepare for a potential tripling of large wildfires in the coming decades, a new federal report on climate change revealed Friday.
And, it warned, the region should also expect additional water shortages, heat wave deaths, and smoke pollution.
According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, California and the West have already witnessed an expansion of catastrophic blazes due to climate change and rising warming, with twice as much acreage burned by wildfire than would have occurred otherwise.
“Higher temperatures sharply increase the risk of megadroughts—dry periods lasting 10 years or more,” says the report, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with contributions from the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other research agencies.
Such “megadroughts” will trigger a cascade of impacts, including tripling the frequency of large wildfires — those roughly 20 square miles or larger — than what has historically occurred, the report said. Impacts could be lessened, it added, if action was taken to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Continue reading…]