U.S. government agencies release comprehensive climate change report warning of severe economic impact News
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U.S. government agencies release comprehensive climate change report warning of severe economic impact

A group of thirteen United States government agencies led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a landmark study of the effects of climate change on Friday, describing the economic impact that the rapid rise in global temperatures will have over the next century.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment is the latest in a series of studies established by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 that passed unanimously in the Senate and was signed into law by President George Bush. The GCRA requires that that U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an office of the White House, report to the government every four years on the ongoing effects of man-made climate change. The release of the report today accompanies an earlier “Volume I” that was published in 2017. While Volume I was focused mainly on causes and symptoms of climate change, the newly released Volume II projects the economic, societal, and environmental damage that will be suffered in the coming decades.

The report, drawing from the research of more than 300 scientists and policy experts, describes in great detail impact that climate change will have on sectors of the American economy. The report states that “expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events… threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability”, as well as threatening to “degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being”. The report in addition states that “while mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary” and that drastic measures are needed to mitigate future damage. In addition, the report breaks down the economic impact by each region of the United States, providing detailed projections of what impact industries and communities in each area will suffer throughout the century.

The Trump administration has not yet responded to the evidence presented in the National Climate Assessment, though the administration has long been skeptical of the scientific proof of human-made climate change.