Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Americans, Economy Are Feeling the Effects of Climate Change Draft Version of Assessment Warns That Hotter Weather Is Only Part of Equation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Americans, Economy Are Feeling the Effects of Climate Change Draft Version of Assessment Warns That Hotter Weather Is Only Part of Equation

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A new report warns that climate change driven by human activity already is affecting the American people and economy, with more frequent and intense heat waves, heavy downpours and, in some places, floods and droughts.

A draft version of the National Climate Assessment that was released Friday warns that as the Earth continues to warm because of increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the health and livelihoods of many Americans and the ecosystems that sustain the nation face some frightening impacts. Sea levels are rising, scientists warn, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting.

The National Climate Assessment, which is required under the Global Change Research Act of 1990, is presented to the president and Congress every four years. It is designed to provide a thorough overview of the status of climate science and climate change impacts.

It came the same week that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said U.S. temperatures in 2012 were the highest since record-keeping began in 1895. But the draft assessment warns that human-induced climate change "means much more than just hotter weather."

The report references increases in ocean and freshwater temperatures, frost-free days and heavy downpours. There is also more extreme weather, including more frequent and intense winter storms along the West and New England coasts. Such storms include Sandy in late October, which, while not a particularly intense hurricane, exposed the sorts of problems that communities may face as sea levels rise.

"This draft report sends a warning to all of us: We must act in a comprehensive fashion to reduce carbon pollution or expose our people and communities to continuing devastation from extreme weather events and their aftermath," said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in a statement.

Friday's draft assessment warns that climatic shifts have affected and will continue to affect human health, water supplies, agriculture, transportation and energy. They will pose the greatest challenges to communities that already are facing economic or health- related problems, and to species and habitats that already face other pressures, the assessment says. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.