The United States is already feeling the heat from climate change - and the damage could cost hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of century if more preventive measures aren't taken now, a new federal report has found.
Although the report suggests that no one is immune to the effects of climate change, children, low-income communities and older adults are groups that face higher risks of health issues due to factors such as increased temperatures.
Climate change will have a far-reaching affect on the U.S. if more is not done to combat it, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
The assessment paints a dire picture of the worsening effects of global warming as almost every corner of the country grows more at risk from extreme heat, more devastating storms, droughts and wildfires, waning snowpack and other threats to critical infrastructure, air quality, water supplies and vulnerable communities.
"Climate change is already affecting every part of the United States, nearly every sector of the United States, be it agriculture or forestry or energy, tourism", says George Mason University professor Andrew Light, who is one of the report's editors.
The warning is at odds with the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuels agenda and the president's own statements on global warming. Thirteen federal agencies and departments, and hundreds of scientists, worked on the report, which covers every major sector of the USA economy (agriculture, energy production, forestry, transportation, water resources...) as well as the natural environment and human health and welfare. The quality and quantity of their crops will decline across the USA due to higher temperatures, drought and flooding.
"Climate change is spawning more extreme weather, causing irreparable harm to communities, costing billions of dollars a year, and leading to countless deaths".
Achieving either of these temperature targets will require transformations in many aspects of our society, including the way we use and produce energy, the way we grow and consume food, and how we transport ourselves.
Stating that humans are the reason behind the 90% of the rise in temperature, the report asserted that the USA will be as much as will be 3-12 degrees hotter by the end of the century.
"A warm, dry climate has increased the areas burned over the last 20 years", he said at a press conference Friday.
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"With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century-more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many US states".
"Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today", it said.
The report noted that mean temperatures in the 48 contiguous states have already warmed 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since 1900, with 1.2 degrees of that rise coming over the past few decades.
The NCA4 underscores these points for the United States and shows that we can pave the way towards a safer future if we take immediate action to reduce global warming emissions.
Outside scientists and officials from 13 federal agencies wrote the report, which was released on the afternoon following Thanksgiving.
Earlier this month, the president showed his scepticism of climate change in a tweet that suggests Mr Trump links global warming exclusively to warm weather.
"And this warming trend can only be explained by human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere".
The assessment noted that some climate impacts won't be as damaging to the Northwest as they will be to other regions of the country.
"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century", according to that report.
"There are no credible alternative human or natural explanations supported by the observational evidence", the report says.
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