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White House Warns Climate Change is Happening Now

The third US National Climate Change Assessment, just released, says that climate change is a critical threat to every region of the country, and that is happening now.


In the human psyche, there is a big difference between “now” and “in the future.” “Now” is present and cannot be escaped. “In the future” still leaves time to kibitz, procrastinate, and avoid responsibility.


On May 6, the White House released the third U.S. National Climate Change Assessment, what it describes as “the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information to date about climate-change impacts across all U.S. regions and on critical sectors of the economy.” This National Climate Assessment finds that climate change is already affecting the United States—now.


Some examples of these changes that the report gives include: the fact that temperatures from 2001 to 2012 were warmer than any previous decade in every region of the country. Globally, the 10 warmest years on record all occurred since 1998. For the contiguous 48 states, seven out the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. To top off this data, the report also points out that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation.


The report also goes into details on other events that have been worsened due to climate change including droughts, wildfires and floods—all of which have become more frequent and intense. The report estimates that extreme weather cost the country more than $100 billion in 2012. Included in this tally are the effects of drought and heat waves, Superstorm Sandy, combined severe weather, western wildfires and Hurricane Isaac.


The report clearly states that “carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change,” and President Obama is calling upon federal agencies and informed citizens to “choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science—and act before it is too late.”


Dr. John Holdren, President Obama's Science Advisor, introduces the National Climate Assessment:


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