The U.S. government quietly issued a troubling new report on climate change and mankind’s impact on the environment Friday. The 1,600-page document, scheduled for release next month but instead dumped on Black Friday, paints a bleak overview of the threat global warming poses in the United States, both climatically and economically.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” National Climate Assessment researchers wrote in Volume II in their report on climate change.
“The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur. Americans increasingly recognize the risks climate change poses to their everyday lives and livelihoods and are beginning to respond.”
The 12-part summary findings in the study break down how agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and the coastline are all in jeopardy from persistent climate change. The study also acknowledges how “communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies.”
The report, composed of findings from experts in “16 national-level topic chapters, 10 regional chapters, and 2 chapters that focus on societal response strategies,” warns that “more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events, as well as changes in average climate conditions, are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities. Future climate change is expected to further disrupt many areas of life, exacerbating existing challenges to prosperity posed by aging and deteriorating infrastructure, stressed ecosystems, and economic inequality.”
The National Climate Assessment’s Volume II study arrived just two days after President Donald Trump tweeted, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Trump, who previously stated climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government, admitted in a 60 Minutes interview in October that it is not a hoax, but “I don’t know that it’s manmade.” The president added of climate change, “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again.”
Despite the president’s trumpeting of a chilly Thanksgiving, the National Climate Assessment noted, “Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity. Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase.”
The study continued, “the frequency and severity of allergic illnesses, including asthma and hay fever, are expected to increase as a result of a changing climate. Climate change is also projected to alter the geographic range and distribution of disease-carrying insects and pests, exposing more people to ticks that carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile, and dengue, with varying impacts across regions.” In short, climate change would cost the United States billions of dollars and thousands of lives, the study warned.
Volume II of the National Climate Assessment’s study is the latest report to project a dire forecast if climate change is left unchecked: In October, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the planet is within 12 years of climate change catastrophe.