Today (Nov. 23) the Trump Administration released the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA). The report showed the climate change already is having serious impacts on people in the US.
It opens by stating: “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur. Americans increasingly recognize the risks climate change poses to their everyday lives and livelihoods and are beginning to respond.” The report reaffirms findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October.
The report also noted: “Many activities within the public and private sectors aim for or have the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the increasing use of natural gas in place of coal or the expansion of wind and solar energy to generate electricity. Fossil fuel combustion accounts for approximately 85% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with agriculture, land-cover change, industrial processes, and methane from fossil fuel extraction and processing as well as from waste (including landfills, wastewater treatment, and composting) accounting for most of the remainder.”
The Trump Administration, which has taken actions to try to make coal power more competitive with low-cost solar and wind, and stripped information about renewable energy from the White House Website introduced the report early. That would normally be a good thing, but by releasing it over the holiday weekend, when many people are traveling, it limits the exposure and impact the report could have. It was scheduled to be released in December.
"How many wake-up calls do we need? Every new National Climate Assessment has built on the previous one, confirming that climate change is already happening, and that we need to act,” argued Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) Executive Director Carol Werner. "Time is running out. Unfortunately, the Trump White House is moving in the wrong direction, despite the warnings of its own scientists, and the calls for action from both sides of the aisle. Sadly, the fact that the Administration released this important report on the Friday after Thanksgiving clearly shows its desire to squelch its impact."
The report, is issued through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which was established by Presidential initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. Its mission is research global climate change caused by humans and respond to it.
The latest report comes within days of the most devastating wildfires in California, as that state’s fire season is not year-round. Something not lost on Werner. ”We are seeing more extreme weather, more droughts, more hurricanes. The terrible Camp Fire in California, the devastation caused by Hurricanes Florence and Michael…these events show us what is at stake," she said.Tweet