Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Climate Change's Impact in the US? It's Already Here, Scientists Say

Nikki Haley US ambassador to the UN sent a letter to signal US plans to leave the Paris climate pact Nikki Haley US ambassador to the UN sent a letter to signal US plans to leave the Paris climate pact
Howard Terry | 10 August, 2017, 00:12

The report found that in the USA, temperatures have risen quickly over the last four decades, and the most recent decades have been the hottest in the past 1,500 years.

The 2018 National Climate Assessment is legally mandated, meaning the Trump administration could face lawsuits if (or more likely, when) it suppresses it.

Amid fears the Trump administration would bury the report, one federal scientist leaked a draft copy to The New York Times to ensure it saw the light of day.

"Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans", the report's executive summary informs readers. "Without major reductions in these emissions, the increase in annual average global temperatures relative to pre-industrial times could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit or more by the end of this century". Of that warming, the draft says, there is at least a 95 percent likelihood that more than half could be attributed to human activity. Four days ago, the US Department of State notified the United Nations of Washington's intention to abandon the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as soon as possible, under the terms of the pact. President Trump and his cabinet have made their views on climate change clear, with the President announcing earlier this year that America is to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

A leaked draft of a major federal government climate change report has concluded that the US will face dire consequences if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced.

"These persistent levels of denial unique in the USA have been intentionally created by the large carbon polluters taking the playbook from the tobacco companies, hiring pseudo-scientists and putting out false data, and all of us, as human beings, are resistant to thinking about something that's hard to think about", Gore said of climate change deniers. An increase above 2 degrees Celsius would push the global environment closer to catastrophic changes, scientists have said.

"I think it is time for an update and it does help frame the discussion in Canada which is often about the incremental costs of new policies like a carbon tax without that counter weight".

Congress requires the report, but the White House greatly influences how much fanfare attends its release, said Paul Bledsoe, a climate adviser under President Clinton who is now a lecturer at American University's Center for Environmental Policy.

Sea level rises are of particular relevance to Florida, and of course to Flagler County. At the same time, heavy precipitation events in the USA have increased in both intensity and frequency since the beginning of the 20 century - especially for the Northeast.

Recent decades have seen marked changes in temperature extremes across the U.S. This chart shows that record warm daily temperatures are occurring more often.

Several authors of the draft, quoted anonymously, told The Times that they were concerned Mr. Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt or others could withhold or dramatically alter the report since it may not fit into their political agenda.

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