The U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment released today warns of dire changes by 2050, many irreversible, according to the first comprehensive climate study prepared entirely under the Trump administration, with costs threatening to reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually by the middle of this century. It’s the pace of carbon dioxide emissions, not the absolute volume, it turns out, that’s makes our human-dominated, Anthropocene Era so extraordinarily fragile.
The new report, which Congress requires to be issued every four years, was released by U.S. Global Change Research Program. It is the product of 300 scientific experts under the guidance of a 60-member federal advisory committee, and it was open to review by the public, 13 federal agencies and a panel at the National Academy of Sciences
In contrast to Trump’s blind climate-change denial and opposition, Progressive Democrats set to take control of the House in January, will be pushing for an expansive “Green New Deal” as one of the rallying cries as we head toward the 2020 campaign.
The report is the latest scientific work to warn that the planet is due to undergo devastating changes in the coming years that will permanently alter the coastlines, worsen droughts and storms and foster the outbreaks of dangerous diseases as temperatures climb.
While the report said quick action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution could dramatically affect the state of the planet by the end of the century, many of the impacts the U.S. will see in the next two decades appear irreversible.
Our Anthropocene Epoch is offering real-time proof-of-concept for the world’s climate-science community. Coral reefs, for example, which today supply one-quarter of the ocean’s species, are likely doomed if even modest CO2 emissions scenarios come to pass.
In the acidifying waters of the Southern Ocean, reports Peter Brannen in Ends of the World, “the shells of small, translucent, fluttering planktonic snails called pteropods, which form part of the base of the Antarctic food chain, have been found pitted with holes. In 2008, NOAA scientist Nina Bednaršek discovered these corroded creatures during a research cruise around Antarctica. By 2050, ocean acidification will render the entire Southern Ocean uninhabitable by pteropods, an ecological catastrophe.”
“Because several [greehouse gases], in particular carbon dioxide, reside in the atmosphere for decades or longer, many climate-influenced effects are projected to continue changing through 2050, even if GHG emissions were to stop immediately,” said the Fourth National Climate Assessment Vol. II.
“While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades,” the report said.
Trump Twetted this morning, attacking the climate change science this week as cold temperatures bore down on the East Coast, tweeting on Wednesday, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Weather and climate are different things, as most of today’s sixth-graders are aware.
The White House tried to downplay the new report’s conclusions Friday, claiming that they are “largely based on most extreme scenarios.” The White House also noted that U.S. greenhouse gas pollution has declined 14 percent since 2005 — although the reasons for that drop include trends initiated during the Obama era, such as a shift away from coal-fired power plants.
The 2017 report said the 1.8 degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures since 1901 had lifted temperatures to their highest level in the history of modern civilization, and that it was extremely likely human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, were the dominant cause of the warming since the mid-20th century.
The new federal report lays out grim scenarios for each part of the country, including how changes in the amounts and timing of snow and rainfall is leading water stress.
“The report is largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that, despite strong economic growth that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population,” a White House spokesperson said in the email.
The next report — due out in four years — would look more closely at climate modeling and projections, the spokesperson said, which would “provide for a more transparent and data-driven process that includes fuller information on the range of potential scenarios and outcomes.”
The Daily Galaxy via https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/