On Tuesday, just five weeks after the UN published its own damning report on climate change, the White House released its National Climate Assessment. The findings, contributed to by more than 300 climate scientists and technical experts, are terrifying.
"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the National Climate Assessment says, adding that the evidence of man-made climate change "continues to strengthen" and that "impacts are increasing across the country."
"Americans are noticing changes all around them," the report says, echoing a draft version from last year. "Summers are longer and hotter. ... Rain comes in heavier downpours."
A few highlights of the report's findings:
- Winter storms have increased in intensity and frequency since the 1950s
- 2001 to 2012 was warmer than any previous decade in every part of the country, going back as far as 1901
- Sea levels have risen by eight inches since 1880 and are expected to rise between one and four feet by 2100
- 43 of the lower 48 states have set at least one monthly heat record since January 2010
- Flooding from climate change could cost as much as $325 billion by 2100, including more than $130 billion in Florida alone
Those include smoke-filled air from more wildfires, smoggy air from pollution, more diseases from tainted food, water, mosquitoes and ticks. And then there's more pollen because of warming weather and the effects of carbon dioxide on plants. Ragweed pollen season has lengthened by 24 days in the Minnesota-North Dakota region between 1995 and 2011, the report says. In other parts of the Midwest, the pollen season has gotten longer by anywhere from 11 days to 20 days.
According to the report, it's not too late to stop some of the damage if significant changes are made soon.
"The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids," the White House said in a statement.
[Image via AP]