The White House released a report on climate change this week that made headlines for some of the dire warnings it contained.
But there’s nothing in the report that hasn’t been stated publicly before and, in most instances, simply reiterates what was in previous reports.
As many as 9,300 more people could die each year because of extreme heat or cold related to climate change by the end of this century, the Trump administration said Friday in releasing a massive new report on the controversial issue.
The range of disease-spreading mosquitoes and ticks will expand, as will extreme weather events — all of which will bring additional mental health problems such as depression and even suicidal tendencies, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, made up of 13 federal agencies, said in the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
All told, the health problems and other damage and mitigation costs will total hundreds of billions of dollars in drag on the U.S. economy by the end of this century, the experts said.
They also said there is no doubt humans are contributing to global warming.
“Both human and natural factors influence Earth’s climate, but the long-term global warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effect that human activities have had on the climate,” the assessment concluded.
All of this could have been lifted from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment report issued in 2014. What this report from the administration does is summarize what is known about the science of climate change.
How much warming depends on what steps are taken. If the world can achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, warming could be limited to 2 degrees centigrade. But without those limits, global temperatures could rise 5 degrees or more by the end of this century, compared to where they were before industrialization.
While the report acknowledges some uncertainty about the extent of warming and its damages, the conclusions are mostly grim. The analysts said there may be some aspects of the economy that would benefit from a modest warming, but said the rates and pace the country is looking at are likely to be catastrophic overall.
The report breaks down the various ways that the environment is changing and how each region in the U.S. is being affected by the radical ecosystem shifts. In concluded that weather is becoming more extreme on the coasts as the oceans warm.
Even among global warming believers, there is a wide range of disagreement about the amount of warming and its effect on humans. The question isn’t so much is the earth warming – even NASA has issued contradictory data on that – the big question for policymakers has been what to do about it.
It’s an article of faith that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will automatically lead to moderating climate change. This is logical, but unproven except by models. And the accuracy of climate change models leaves much to be desired. So do we damage the economy by stifling economic activity to the tune of losing $5-13 trillion dollars in growth between now and 2050 based on questionable data? Or do we continue to improve our models until we are reasonably certain they are telling us what might truly happen?
I am a skeptic of catastrophic climate change. If things are really as dire as many predictions tell us, it’s already too late to save the planet. Many former advocates of the theory of catastrophic warming have been backing off those predictions for the last several years. Instead, it is more likely we are looking at a 2 degree rise in temperatures or less. This gives us time to come up with a lot more innovative ideas to cut emissions than blowing up capitalist economies because one is opposed to capitalism.