The second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment released last week forecasts a future full of wrath of God type events right out of the Bible. [Download report at nca2018.globalchange.gov]
In the decades ahead, the United States will experience: rising sea levels swamping coastal areas; severe droughts that will threaten vital food supplies; killer heat waves that will leave thousands dead annually; an increase in the number and intensity of wildfires like the ones seen in California this year; stronger hurricanes and other storms causing severe damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure; an increased number of power outages as an aging power grid struggles under the heat; and the migration of tropical diseases northward.
The assessment says the economic effects of climate change could shrink the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century as the nation is saddled with hundreds of billions dollars in climate change costs. With sea levels rising by feet rather than inches, more than $500 billion worth of coastal property could be lost by the year 2100 along with resulting losses in tourism and recreation.
In a sign of how little heed it is paying to the dire warnings, the Trump Administration dumped the report on Black Friday in the midst of a four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the hope that fewer people would notice.
“I don’t believe it,” President Donald Trump said of the report.
The Republican Party is largely united behind Trump’s belief that while climate change might be happening, nobody knows precisely why and that the dire warnings are either greatly exaggerated or completely untrue.
The report, which was created by NOAA with inputs from NASA and 11 other federal agencies, emphatically rejects this view.
“[The report] concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising,” the assessment stated. “These impacts are projected to intensify—but how much they intensify will depend on actions taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the risks from climate change now and in the coming decades.”
The climate examined a variety of different scenarios for climate change in the decades ahead.
Democrats, who are set to take control of the House of Representatives in January, are already using the report to renews calls for urgent on climate change. Those efforts are being resisted by the president and members of the Republican-controlled Senate, signalling that nothing will be done for at least the next two years.