Dire warning on United States climate change impacts

Government climate report warns of worsening U.S. disasters, contradicts Trump

Government climate report warns of worsening U.S. disasters, contradicts Trump

As California's catastrophic wildfires recede and Americans on the east coast rebuild after two hurricanes, a new federal report warns these types of extreme weather disasters are worsening in the United States.

The federal government on Friday quietly released a major report warning man-made climate change is real and already having a devastating impact on the USA - just days after President Trump mocked the idea of global warming.

"By the middle of this century, annual losses in the United States due to climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars", said the latest edition of the National Climate Assessment.

The report says warming-charged extremes "have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration".

Report co-author Katharine Hayhoe, of Texas Tech University, said "we are seeing the things we said would be happening, happen now in real life".

The report is the second volume of a non-partisan work of science mandated by Congress to inform policymakers about the reality of global warming, and it represents a sweeping view of the scientific consensus.

It said global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor, broadly undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming to energy production.

Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science at the Union of Concerned Scientists and one of the report's authors, said the report made it clear that climate change was not "some problem in the distant future".

The report said climate change was "presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth".

Environmental groups said the report underlined their demands for action.

Earlier this week, the U.S. president appeared to deride the idea of climate change in a tweet about the weather.

The air pollution from wildfires combined with heat waves is a major future health risk for the west, the report says.

While scientists talk of average global temperatures, people feel extremes more, he said.

At the time, Mr Trump said he wanted to negotiate a new "fair" deal that would not disadvantage USA businesses and workers. By the end of the century, the US will be 3 to 12 degrees (1.6 to 6.6 degrees Celsius) hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns. The officials said the content of the report was free from interference, but declined to directly answer several questions about whether the White House ordered the report to be released on Black Friday, a day when many Americans are disconnected with the news. It was originally scheduled for December.

Trump tweeted this week about the cold weather hitting the East including: "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?"

Friday's (Saturday NZT) report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: "Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity". As the urgency of climate change continues to grow, leaders in other countries (as well as mayors and governors in the U.S.) have promised to double down on their efforts, largely leaving the USA - and, by extension, Trump - by the wayside as the world adapts to changes driven by global warming.

In a statement released Friday, former Vice President Al Gore criticized the timing of the report's release.

TRT World's Lionel Donovan reports. It also says that more than 90 percent of current warming is caused by humans.

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