The New York Times reports on a draft report from thirteen federal agencies that is not yet public. The news is not good- “The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years.” This of course suggests the direct connection between emissions and climate change.
How to mitigate climate change? That “depends on future emissions and the sensitivity of the climate system to those emissions.” This report is part of the National Climate Assessment which the U.S. Congress requires every four years. the National Academy of Sciences has reviewed it-the White House (and President Trump) would release it.
It’s no surprise that this report confirms what people in the northwest have already been experiencing-there is confidence that the frequency and severity of warm days has dramatically increased since the 1960’s. “With a medium degree of confidence, the authors linked the contribution of human-caused warming to rising temperatures over the Western and Northern United States. It found no direct link in the Southeast.” The report also noted that temperatures in Alaska and the Arctic are warming at twice as fast as the global average.This rapid warming will contribute to accelerated land and sea ice melting that will impact sea level rise along coastal cities and communities.
There are several concerns, some political with this report-one, the Environmental Protection Agency must approve it, despite the fact that the current agency’s administrator does not believe there is a causal impact between carbon dioxide and global warming. Secondly, there is a concern that the “Trump administration could change or suppress the report. And lastly “those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change say they are equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger National Climate Assessment, will be publicly released.”
How will this report will be translated with a lack of political will and direction into policy and programs? “The National Climate Assessment seems to be on autopilot because there’s no political will that has taken control of it,” said Myron Ebell, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”