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Climate Change Already Impacting US Citizens, Report Claims

January 13, 2013
Image Credit: kwest / Shutterstock

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

A 1,000-plus page draft report compiled by US government scientists warns global warming is already having a notable impact on the day-to-day lives of Americans, disrupting their health and their homes, among other things, various media outlets reported on Saturday.

According to AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, the 1,146-page National Climate Assessment, which was commissioned by the federal government, “details in dozens of ways how climate change” is negatively impacting the lives of American citizens. Furthermore, it “warns that those disruptions will increase in the future,” he added.

Potential threats resulting from man-made global warming include an increased risk of extreme weather events (such as storm surges, floods, or intense droughts), wildfires, a decline in air quality, increased risk of disease spread by insects, food, or water, and even potential mental-health related risks, the AP said.

It already has or could potentially impact us biologically; cause damage to our homes, workplaces, and infrastructure; or affect farms, water pumping stations, or power plants, the scientists claim. Specifically, The Observer reports corn, oyster, and maple syrup producers have witnessed local climate changes they had not previously experienced, and that climate change has the potential to cause future storms as destructive as Superstorm Sandy.

“The uncompromising language of the report, and the stark picture that its authors have painted of the likely effects of global warming, have profound implications for the rest of the world,” Robin McKie, the UK publication´s science editor, said. “If the world’s greatest economy is already feeling the strain of global warming, and is fearful of its future impact, then other nations face a very worrying future as temperatures continue to rise as more and more greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere.”

“The report makes for sobering reading,” University College London Professor Chris Rapley told McKie during an interview. “Most people in the UK and US accept human-induced climate change is happening but respond by focusing attention elsewhere. We dismiss the effects of climate change as ‘not here’, ‘not now’, ‘not me’ and ‘not clear’. This compelling new assessment by the US experts challenges all four comforting assumptions. The message is clear: now is the time to act!”

The editors of the MIT Technology Review apparently agree. Earlier this month, the Washington Examiner reports, they penned and published an open letter challenging the recently re-elected Commander-in-Chief to get tougher on climate-related issues.

“Whether you can develop a practical and sustainable strategy to address climate change–specifically, to begin lowering carbon dioxide emissions–will define the success of your new term as president,” they wrote in that letter. “We do not make such a declaration lightly; we are keenly aware of the many other challenges you face. But the potential for global warming over the next decades threatens consequences so dire that they could overwhelm any progress you make toward other long-term economic, social, and political goals.”

“Altering the course of climate change is a task that will take decades. It will require innovative new technologies and overhauls of the world´s energy, agricultural, and transportation infrastructure,” they added. “We don´t suggest that you can reverse the warming trend over the next four years“¦ But with the help of the world´s best economic, technical, and scientific minds, you can formulate a policy that will show the nation–and the world–how we can begin to make the changes necessary to ensure that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stabilizes at a safe level. Indeed, it is critical that you do so.”


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online



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