The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) on November 23, 2018, released Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States. It reviews the impact of climate change across 15 key sectors, as well as its impact on 10 regions.
The Trump Administration’s radical neglect will threaten the health of every American by making climate change worse. The Administration is working to roll back or weaken common-sense safeguards that include the emissions standards for coal-burning power plants, clean car standards, and methane waste rules – as well as imposing restrictions on the use of scientific research in setting environmental safeguards, and seeking significant cuts in climate change and clean energy programs.
These are seven critical questions for the Trump administration and Congress raised by the Assessment:
The Report Says: “Sea levels are expected to continue to rise along almost all U.S. coastlines, and by 2100, under the higher scenario, coastal flood heights that today cause major damages to infrastructure would be common during high tides nationwide.”
Question: What is being done to help coastal communities deal with the current and future impacts of rising sea levels?
The Report Says: “The health and well-being of Americans are already affected by climate change, with the adverse health consequences projected to worsen with additional climate change. Climate change affects human health by altering exposures to heat waves, floods, droughts, and other extreme events; vector-, food- and waterborne infectious diseases; changes in the quality and safety of air, food, and water; and stresses to mental health and well-being.”
Question: What is being done to prepare for the enormous health impacts and associated medical expenses that will result from climate change if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced?
The Report Says: “America’s trillion-dollar coastal property market and public infrastructure are threatened by the ongoing increase in the frequency, depth, and extent of tidal flooding due to sea level rise, with cascading impacts to the larger economy…fisheries, tourism, human health, and public safety depend upon healthy coastal ecosystems…”
Question: How will the failure of the federal government to deal with climate change impact the tourist, insurance, and real estate industries that depend on healthy coastlines?
The Report Says: “A reliable, safe, and efficient U.S. transportation system is at risk from increases in heavy precipitation, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average temperature…these impacts threaten the performance…of the entire network, with critical ramifications for safety…economic vitality and mobility…particularly for vulnerable populations and urban infrastructure.”
Question: Has the Department of Transportation made plans to protect our roads, bridges, railways, and other transportation infrastructure from climate related damage?
The Report Says: “Wildfire smoke degrades air quality, increasing the health risks to tens of millions of people in the United States. More frequent and severe wildfires due to climate change would further diminish air quality, increase incidences of respiratory illness from exposure to wildfire smoke, impair visibility, and disrupt outdoor recreational activities.”
Question: Does the administration have plans to deal with the economic and health impacts of more frequent and increasingly devastating wildfires?
The Report Says: “The impacts of climate change, variability, and extreme events outside the United States are affecting and are virtually certain to increasingly affect U.S. trade and economy…climate change…can slow or reverse social and economic progress in developing countries, thus undermining international aid and investments made by the United States and increasing the need for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief…climate change and extremes increase risks to national security through direct impacts on U.S. military infrastructure and by affecting factors, including food and water availability, that can exacerbate conflict outside U.S. borders.”
Question: Is the administration and the Department of Defense planning for increased movement of refugees and regional instability – which could affect our national security – due to climate change impacts?
The Report Says: “The impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country…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.”
Question: Why did the US government abandon the Clean Power Plan and propose a plan that allows hundreds of millions of tons of additional climate pollution; as well as seeking to undermine other policies and rules that reduce climate pollution?”