Contrary to talking points regularly delivered by Republicans, and even the president himself, findings produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program indicate climate change is real, is human-driven, and will create catastrophic conditions for human beings on earth.
About the Report
"The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) is designed to be an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States, to serve as the foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision-making about responses. In accordance with this purpose, it does not include an assessment of literature on climate change mitigation, adaptation, economic valuation, or societal responses, nor does it include policy recommendations."
- Global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993.
- Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise — by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1-4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out.
- Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency globally and across the United States and is expected to continue to increase.
- The rate of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.
- Heat waves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent.
- The rate of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase.
- Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States.
- "Climate models are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate the amount of long-term future change,” the paper concludes.
- There could be large-scale shifts in major worldwide climate patterns that would wreak havoc on the global climate system.
- Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has now passed 400 parts per million, a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today.
It was noted that the report - focused strictly on the science - was subjected to no interference by policy makers.
In addition, the White House Office of Science and Technology signed off on the report, said Virginia Burkett, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and acting chair of the subcommittee on Global Change Research.
Rather than prescribe strategy, the report is diagnostic:
"The assessment is like a doctor’s report that evaluates a patient’s vital signs and uses that information to diagnose a medical condition," said Rachel Licker, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "In this case the medical condition is climate change and the symptoms are rising temperatures, higher sea levels and more extreme weather events."
Responses to the report have begun rolling in:
“The National Climate Assessment is only further proof that the Trump Administration can no longer attempt to misrepresent climate science of the country’s highest caliber as ‘fake news,' said Ken Berlin, president the Climate Reality Project. "The American people deserve to know the truth about the reality staring us square in the face.” Former Vice President Al Gore chimed in on Twitter, noting that "if the Administration won't listen and if the federal govt. won’t act, states, cities, businesses, investors, and citizens will."