After years of work, over 200 scientists have compiled America’s third National Climate Assessment, which illustrates the severe, bleak consequences of climate change.
While once considered a thing of the future, our nation’s Third National Climate Assessment makes it clear that climate change is a present reality. Years of analysis of records from weather stations, satellites, and ocean buoys has demonstrated more vividly than ever that right now, the earth is rapidly warming, primarily due to human activities. The report overview explains that, with advancing technological and scientific capacities, we now have more certainty than ever that global warming in the past 50 years is mainly due to “human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.”
The only “real surprises,” the overview continues, are that “some changes, such as sea level rise and…sea ice decline, have outpaced earlier projections.”
The report projects temperature increases of 2°F to 4°F in most areas over the next few decades. By the end of the century, average temperatures could rise as much 5°F to 10°F if we are unable to achieve substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Along with increases in temperature changes, the report projects increases in precipitation and extreme weather events, rising sea levels which endanger our coastlines, and increasingly acidic oceans intolerable to some sea life.
The report also discusses climate change in terms of the implications it holds for daily life and the well-being of our nation. The effects of climate change are already evident in numerous industries and sectors, the report states, and “are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation.” Affected industries include agriculture, water, human health, energy, transportation, forests, and ecosystems. The report notes that agriculture, in particular, is at risk because of its critical dependence on climate. Climate change will potentially have a large effect on the stability of food supplies.
Climate change has also directly been tied to human health, as rising surface temperatures translates to increasing levels and wider varieties of disease. Increasing frequency of extreme weather events also pose obvious risks to public safety.
The report concludes by reminding that, as the impacts of climate change grow increasingly dire, “Americans face choices.”
Hopefully, the picture of a potentially bleak and difficult future painted by this report will serve as a wake-up call. Especially for those businesses and organizations, which, deeply self-absorbed, choose to prioritize the state of their coffers over the welfare of billions of fellow humans.