President Obama’s top science advisers have created a comprehensive climate change report ,which details the expected impact of global warming on the US, and urgently recommends decisive action. The report, published by the Global Climate Research Program, is being unveiled by Dr. John Holdren, who heads the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and NOAA’s Dr. Jane Lubchenco. It is expected to provide the scientific support for the administration’s cap-and-trade policies, and the need to transition as quickly as possible to a low-carbon economy. By acting soon, and boldly, the report suggests that humanity has a chance to avoid the worst effects of climate change. By failing to act, society may well place an overwhelming — and perhaps insurmountable — burden on future generations.
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States will suggest that under a business-as-usual scenario, temperatures across the US will rise by between 9 and 11°F over the next 80 years. By any measure, that would be devastating. For example, the report predicts that temperatures in Kansas City will be above 90°F for more than 120 days per year by 2090. Houston and Washington will endure temperatures greater than 98°F for more than two months each year.
Among the report’s key findings:
# Global warming is unequivocal, and humanity is driving it
# Climate change is already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems and health, with some states already suffering from difficult circumstances — and these stresses will increase in the decades ahead
# The scarcity of water will become a serious national issue
# Agriculture in some areas may be able to adapt to climate change, but increased temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, pests, diseases and weather extremes will challenge crops and livestock production, and lessen the ability of the US to feed itself
# Threats to human health — especially those related to heat stress, water-borne diseases, reduced air quality, extreme weather events and diseases — will increase significantly
# Sea-level will rise and storm surges will place many US coastal regions at increasing risk for erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Pacific islands and parts of Alaska; energy and transportation infrastructure in coastal cities will likely to be adversely affected. (Source: Reuters, Global Climate Research Program, Climate Progress, June 15, 2009)
Contact: Dr. John Holdren, Director, Office of Science & Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, US Government, (202) 456-7116, www.ostp.gov; Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary, NOAA, (202) 482-3436, email@example.com, www.noaa.gov; Global Climate Research Program, (202) 223-6262, www.globalchange.gov