THE END! Latest Climate Report Ignored
A massive report issued by the Trump administration on Friday emphasizes the dire threat that human-caused global warming poses to the United States and its citizens.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” researchers say in the report, officially Volume II of the National Climate Assessment. (Volume I was released last year.)
The 1,600-page report details the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents will see if drastic action is not taken to address climate change.
“The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future,” the researchers say.
The last few years have smashed records for damaging weather in the United States, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015. In a worst-case scenario, the researchers say, climate change could deliver a 10 percent hit to the nation’s GDP by the end of the century.
Climate change threatens the health and well-being of the American people by causing increasing extreme weather, changes to air quality, the spread of new diseases by insects and pests and changes to the availability of food and water, the researchers say.
Report co-author Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University said it shows the dangerous weather that scientists said will happen in the United States is already happening.
This is the fourth National Climate Assessment. It was mandated by Congress in the late 1980s and is prepared every four years by the nation’s top scientists from 13 agencies. It’s meant as a reference for the president, Congress and the public.
What makes the report different from previous versions is that it focuses on the United States, then goes more local and granular.
Billions of hours in productivity will be lost. Hundreds of billions of dollars will be wiped from the economy. Tens of thousands of people will die each year.
Mass deaths every year
There are warnings throughout the report of health risks from climate change that, taken together, will total tens of thousands of additional premature deaths every year. Several cities, mostly in the Northeast and Southeast, are forecast to face new extremes in hot and cold days that could bring 3,900 to 9,300 deaths per year from 2080 to 2099.
The Midwest, the region projected to have the largest increase in deaths from extreme temperatures, could see 2,000 additional deaths per year by 2090, the report says.
Global food shortages
New temperature extremes, more frequent droughts and increased CO2 emissions have already been connected to shortages in crops like wheat, which then lead to higher prices for consumers. As these changes continue, it will be harder to produce wheat, corn, soybean, rice and other crops at the rates needed for a rising population. The report notes that higher temperatures and more precipitation could also lead to an increase in wheat, hay and barley in some regions. But overall, the yields from major U.S. commodity crops are expected to decline nationwide.
The Trump administration says it is scaling back environmental regulations that are stunting economic growth. But the report says the eventual fallout from climate change will damage nearly every facet of the economy. Prices will soar and international trade will be disrupted. Up to two billion labor hours could be lost every year by 2090 due to temperature extremes alone, leading to an estimated $160 billion in lost wages, the report says.
The final result: An estimated loss of up to 10 percent gross domestic product by 2100. By comparison, that would be more than twice the 4.3 percent GDP loss of the Great Recession.
The destruction that climate change can bring to buildings, bridges, dams and transit systems racks up costs billions of dollars and usually takes years to repair.
But the report says that in parts of the U.S., including much of the Northeast and Southeast, the infrastructure for managing storms is already nearing the end of its life expectancy. Even new facilities are often not built to withstand climate changes that are decades away. That means that as floods, wildfires and hurricanes become more frequent, they will also become more devastating, causing greater property damage and more deaths when they strike, according to the report. These extreme weather events also make water and agriculture systems more vulnerable to toxins and bacteria.
And these problems won’t be easy to escape. One chart in the study predicts that by 2100, drivers in parts of the country could spend more than 625 million hours a year in their vehicle, delayed on roads flooded by high tides.
More mental health problems – and murders
Much of the report focuses of havoc climate change will wreak on systems and institutions. But it also makes clear that all of this takes a toll on mental health. People who survive extreme weather events and see their communities destroyed often suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder. And those problems linger long after the destruction passes.
The report notes that droughts have led to a documented increase in alcohol and tobacco use, while higher temperatures bring out more aggressive behaviors, including an increase in homicides.
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