Fourth National Climate Assessment Released
On Thanksgiving weekend the White House and 13 federal agencies released a Congressionally mandated report, The Fourth National Climate Assessment, detailing the impact climate change will have on the country’s land, economy and people if left unchecked. Climate change will disrupt American communities, health, safety, jobs and quality of life unless we take swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a sustainable manner, the report says. Despite the timing of the report’s release on the day after Thanksgiving, it is receiving considerable attention in the press.
Among the reports conclusions are the following:
- The last 115 years (1901–2016) is now the warmest period in the history of modern civilization.
- Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100.
- The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase.
- With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.
- Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
- The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally.