A new report from federal agencies has revealed that the effects of climate change are being felt in every part of the United States and will continue to worsen over the next decade if fossil fuel use is not reduced. The Fifth National Climate Assessment, which is released every five years, warned that although emissions in the US are slowly decreasing, the pace is not sufficient to meet national targets or the UN goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The report emphasizes that climate change is affecting all aspects of American life, and it is becoming increasingly evident in communities across the country. The report highlights the need to reduce fossil fuel use in order to limit the consequences of climate change. It also confirms that even small increases in temperature can lead to more intense impacts.
In recent months, the US has experienced record-breaking heatwaves, deadly floods, devastating wildfires, and powerful hurricanes. These extreme weather events serve as a reminder of the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce over $6 billion in funding to strengthen climate resilience. This includes investments in the electric grid, water infrastructure upgrades, reducing flood risk, and promoting environmental justice.
White House senior climate adviser, John Podesta, stated that a global economic transformation is necessary to ensure a livable future for the current and future generations.
The report also highlights advancements in attribution science, which allows scientists to more definitively link climate change to extreme events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and rainstorms. While climate change does not directly cause these events, it can make them more intense or frequent. The report emphasizes that all regions of the US are feeling the effects of climate change, although some areas are facing more severe impacts than others.
Climate change is also having a significant economic toll in the US. The increasing frequency of climate shocks, such as extreme weather disasters, is impacting the housing market, food prices, and the agriculture sector. The report warns that the economic consequences of the climate crisis are only beginning to be felt.
While the US has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, the decline is not happening fast enough. The report states that emissions need to sharply decline by an average of 6% annually to align with the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Water scarcity and excess are identified as major problems for the US. Drought and reduced snowpack pose significant threats to Southwest communities, while other areas face increased flooding and sea-level rise. Overall, the report highlights the urgent need for action to address the climate crisis in the US.
It emphasizes that no part of the country is immune to the impacts of climate change and that the current pace of emissions reductions is insufficient to meet the necessary targets. The report calls for a transformation of the global economy and increased investments in climate resilience to protect the future well-being of the nation.