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News > U.S.

US Climate Change Report Is Out and It Is as Dire as Expected

  • A scene from the wildfires that have ravaged northern California, which scientists argue are exacerbated by climate change-related drought.

    A scene from the wildfires that have ravaged northern California, which scientists argue are exacerbated by climate change-related drought. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 November 2018

President Trump's White House argued the report was inaccurate and based on the "most extreme scenario."

A United States climate change report issued Friday projects that the global issue will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure. As expected, President Donald Trump's White House dismissed it, calling it inaccurate.

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The congressionally mandated report, written with the input of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and departments, outlined the projected impact of global warming on every corner of American society in a dire warning.

"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 - more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states," the report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, said.

Despite these and other warnings, Trump has insisted on a pro-fossil fuels agenda that includes the so-called "clean coal," fracking and off-shore drilling. 

According to the report, climate change will disproportionately hurt impoverished communities, undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming, to fisheries and energy production.

These findings are not new. In February 2018, the U.S. Pentagon released a report revealing that military installations across the U.S. were facing climate-related threats such as drought, wind, storm surges, and flooding. The report also determined that about half of the U.S. military apparatus had already been affected by extreme weather and other climate-related factors at home and abroad.

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In an apparent attempt to sway the unconvinced the report added: "Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today" arguing impact could be lessened if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply curbed. However, many of the impacts of climate change including more frequent and more powerful storms, droughts, fires, floodings, and rising sea levels are already affecting communities across the globe.

The report supplements a study issued last year that concluded humans are the main driver of global warming and warned of catastrophic effects to the planet. Despite this Donald Trump is an ardent believer that climate change is a Chinese-sponsored hoax to affect U.S. competitiveness. 

Convinced of this idea, popular among far-right politicians and opinion makers, President Trump has been rolling back environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels, including crude oil, already the highest in the world, above Saudi Arabia and Russia.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the new report was "largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that...there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population."

The government's next update of the National Climate Assessment, she said, "gives us the opportunity to provide for a more transparent and data-driven process that includes fuller information on the range of potential scenarios and outcomes."

Trump last year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Deal agreed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change, arguing the accord hurts the U.S. economy and provide little tangible environmental benefit. 

Abigail Dillen, president of Earthjustice responded to the report and the White House's comment saying: "while President Trump continues to ignore the threat of climate change, his own administration is sounding the alarm... This report underscores what we are already seeing firsthand: climate change is real, it's happening here, and it's happening now."

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