Climate change 'will inflict substantial damage on US lives'

(The Guardian, 23 Nov 2018) Climate change is already harming Americans’ lives with “substantial damages” set to occur as global temperatures threaten to surge beyond internationally agreed limits, a major US government report has warned.

The influence of climate change is being felt across the US with increases in disastrous wildfires in the west, flooding on the east coast, soil loss in the midwest and coastal erosion in Alaska, according to the US National Climate Assessment. The Guardian saw a draft of the report before publication on Friday.

The draft outlined that “impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic wellbeing are rising”. Climate change-related risks “will continue to grow without additional action”, it added.

The quadrennial report, the combined work of 13 federal agencies, was released by the Trump administration on the day after Thanksgiving. Scientists who worked on the report said their research was not watered down but claimed the release was timed to bury the findings during the holiday season.

Global temperatures could be limited to 2C above pre-industrial era if greenhouse gas emissions are slashed but “without significant reductions, annual average global temperatures could increase by 9F (5C) or more by the end of this century”, a previously released chapter states.

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The Guardian, 23 Nov 2018: Climate change 'will inflict substantial damage on US lives'