Government Says That Climate Change May Bring Severe Weather Across The US
A new government report is warning that the United States could see even more frequent severe weather scenarios including heat waves and massive storms for several decades to come as climate change results in higher temperatures across the board than what has originally been planned for. The Third National Climate Assessment, which is a scientific study to advise US policymakers, went on to explain that carbon emissions have been a major cause of climate change, which is a source of considerable controversy among some lawmakers on the hill.
The study makes some bold statements, including that “Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. The sum total of this evidence tells and unambiguous story… the planet is warming.” It goes on to say that there was strong evidence that human activity had already doubled the probability of extreme heat on the order of that seen in Texas and Oklahoma in the summer of 2011.
The report warns that climate change poses a significant risk to human health and well being in a number of ways. This includes more frequent storms, wildfires, disease, and deteriorating air quality. Rising sea levels have already caused damage to infrastructure in several locations, and continued climate change could reduce the reliability of water supplies, most notably in the southern half of the United States and the Great Plains.
US agriculture is likely to remain resilient throughout the next 25 or so years, however yields of major crops may start seeing a decline by mid-century, and the continuously warming oceans may pose a threat to a number of fish populations. The report says that additional climate change is not unavoidable, but that the United States could still decide how much to allow based on the actions of both policymakers and industry heads.
The draft assessment was released just three days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the continental United States and also ranked second for severe weather events. There are hopes that the news contained in this report will be enough to bring some fresh momentum into efforts to combat the effects of climate change.
“Climate change is taking its toll on people and their economies, and will only become more intense without a strong and rapid response here in the United States and around the globe,” Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim released a report in November warning of catastrophic consequences if no serious action was taken, saying that climate change evidence is “overwhelming”.
“If you have a three-year-old child, or if you have a three-year-old grandchild, what you’ve got to understand is, if we don’t act aggressively on climate change, the world they live in will be daily fights over access to water, daily fights over access to food,” he said.