• Thomas Enzendorfer

What Does the Latest U.S. Climate Assessment Say?

Recently, Volume Two of the latest National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report was issued detailing the current projected effects of climate change. It is a report that is published every 4 years mandated by Congress.This year’s report detailed coastal flooding and crop failure in the midwest and labeled climate change as an urgent problem that could threaten Americans’ wellbeings.

Temperatures are still rising and there is still risk for more wildfires in the West. It described similar findings as the report from 2014, though some of the focus has changed, detailing impacts that were predicted before. This only confirms previous reports and shows how important it is to take these urgent warnings seriously.

High tide flooding has increased along the coast, destroying businesses, homes, transportation, and ecosystems. The warming of the ocean is even affecting businesses, as the peak catch seasons are changing, leaving distribution centers unprepared. The report also emphasizes the connections between the impacts on climate change. For example, food supplies, water, and electricity generation all affect one another. In California, there is a drought, and that combined with population increase, affects the demand for water and energy. One can also look at the Hurricanes that have happened where transportation systems were affected because of the damage to energy systems.

Climate change has a global impact. It has potential to affect troops abroad and cause political instability as resources are affected and whole islands are disappearing. Not only that, but they are affecting American companies that are abroad and will likely affect trade and the economy. Developing countries are also the most affected by climate change, which puts a burden on our humanitarian assistance. Another focus was on air quality, showing that it will not have an equal impact and will affect the Midwest worst.

Adaption is the key to limiting damage to climate change. The 2014 report noted that few communities were taking steps to adapt, but this year’s report stated that “more and more communities are taking measures such as preserving wetlands along the coasts to act as buffers against storms.” However, outside of states such as Alaska and Louisiana, few states are rethinking their development pattern to think ahead and adapt. The report says that the country is unprepared for the upheavals that await coastal cities, stating “The potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal, financial, and equity issues that have not yet been addressed.

”It is my hope that local, state, and national governments will pay attention to this report, making changes where necessary. In the meantime, us as citizens can demand action and make changes in our homes and in the businesses we support.


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