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US already seeing impact of climate change, warns major new report



Scientists in the US are preparing to unveil the National Climate Assessment (NCA), which outlines the threats that people in the US are already facing because of climate change, in an effort to guide the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies.

The report, compiled by more than 240 authors, is said to be the most exhaustive study on the effects of climate change in the US. It will be formally presented at the White House on Tuesday and will provide president Barack Obama with guidance on future policies to address climate change.

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present”, the report says in its introduction.

It adds that Americans are already experiencing the effects of rising temperatures, with Alaskan ice diminishing and coastal cities seeing more frequent floods. There are also dramatic effects on the economy, for instance on agriculture, and people’s lives, including human health.

Scientists studying climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with Earth’s climatic trends”, the report adds.

Longterm, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources all confirm the fact that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming, precipitation patterns are changing, sea level is rising, and some types of extreme weather events are increasing.”

The NCA noted that temperatures in the US have risen by around 0.8C since 1895 and over 80% of that rise has occurred since 1980.

Scientists from the Federal Advisory Committee, which wrote the report, warned that in addition to more extreme weather such as floods and heatwaves, Americans could see more heat-related health issues, while food production is expected to drop because of warmer climate.

Photo: Jonathan Lidbeck via flickr

Further reading:

Obama sends strong climate change message to global counterparts in speech

April carbon dioxide levels above landmark 400ppm threshold for entire month

US carbon emissions fall 3.4% in 2012

Protesters rally in Washington to urge US climate action

Obama: climate change is a fact and we need to act quickly


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