The third National Climate Assessment was released today by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, comprised of experts in climate science, agriculture, commerce and disaster relief.
It shows the significant effects extreme weather, mainly caused by carbon emissions, has on the nations economy and health. According to the assessment report, temperatures were warmer in 2001 to 2012 than in any previous decade in any region of the U.S.
This report makes clear what farmers, first responders, and flood insurers have already seen firsthand: Global warming is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events, contributing to sea level rise, and increasing drought in many regions, says Rikki Seguin of Environment Oregon, a nonprofit. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. This is a huge deal – power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the county, but face no federal limits on carbon as they do for soot, smog, and other dangerous air pollution.
In the Northwest, the report finds sea levels rising and increases in erosion and ocean acidity levels. There are more wildfires, tree diseases and insect infestations shortening the forests lifespans.
This report clearly lays out the threats to health and economic security that families in Oregon are facing from climate disruption, says Amy Hojnowski, senior campaign representative with the Oregon Sierra Club. Governor Kitzhabers recent call for the rejection of a proposed coal export terminal shows that were taking local action to fight climate disruption by moving beyond dirty fuels, and we hope that we will continue to see this kind of climate leadership to make Oregon truly coal-free.
According to John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, many weather factors are changing including longer, hotter summers, heavier rainfall and wildfires emerging earlier in the year.
Droughts, wildfires and floods are more frequent and more intense, costing the U.S. more than $100 billion total in 2012. Wildfires burned 9.3 million acres in 2012, which was the 15th driest year on record, with precipitation 2.5 inches lower than the 20th century average.
Check out the official video and interactive graphs here.
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