Speaking to reporters outside the White House yesterday, the US President said: I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it and it’s fine”, adding “I don’t believe it”.
He went on: “Here’s the other thing. You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all of these other countries you know, it (the report] addresses our country.
“Right now, we’ve been the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean and every other place on earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So, I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”
The National Climate Assessment warns of the devastating impacts on the health and economy, with more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events.
It states the impacts of global climate change “are already being felt” in the US 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.
It adds decisions made today determine the risk exposure for current and future generations and will either broaden or limit options to reduce the negative consequences of climate change.
The report also warns climate change could cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives every year in the future without prompt action.
It adds:: “It concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.
“These impacts are projected to intensify—but how much they intensify will depend on actions taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the risks from climate change now and in the coming decades.”
Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action. While Americans are responding in ways that can bolster resilience and improve livelihoods, neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the US economy, environment and human health and well-being over the coming decades.
Climate shapes where and how we live and the environment around us. Natural ecosystems, agricultural systems, water resources and the benefits they provide to society are adapted to past climate conditions and their natural range of variability. A water manager may use past or current streamflow records to design a dam, a city could issue permits for coastal development based on current flood maps and an electric utility or a farmer may invest in equipment suited to the current climate, all with the expectation that their investments and management practices will meet future needs.
However, the assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid. Observations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilisation has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts. The warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effects that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, have had on the climate.
Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us. Risks posed by climate variability and change vary by region and sector and by the vulnerability of people experiencing impacts. Social, economic, and geographic factors shape the exposure of people and communities to climate-related impacts and their capacity to respond.
Risks are often highest for those that are already vulnerable, including low-income communities, some communities of color, children, and the elderlyClimate change threatens to exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities that result in higher exposure and sensitivity to extreme weather and climate-related events and other changes. Marginalized populations may also be affected disproportionately by actions to address the underlying causes and impacts of climate change, if they are not implemented under policies that consider existing inequalities.
This report draws a direct connection between the warming atmosphere and the resulting changes that affect Americans’ lives, communities and livelihoods, now and in the future. It documents vulnerabilities, risks and impacts associated with natural climate variability and human-caused climate change across the US and provides examples of response actions underway in many communities.