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Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Published June 16, 2009

13 U.S. government agencies participated in this report on climate change.

The press release states,

"The report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” compiles years of scientific research and takes into account new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments. It was produced by a consortium of experts from13 U.S. government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes. With its production and review spanning Republican and Democratic administrations, it offers a valuable, objective scientific consensus on how climate change is affecting—and may further affect—the United States.

The report, which confirms previous evidence that global temperature increases in recent decades have been primarily human-induced, incorporates the latest information on rising temperatures and sea levels; increases in extreme weather events; and other climate-related phenomena. Adding greatly to its practical value in the realm of policy and planning, it is the first such report in almost a decade to break out those impacts by U.S. region and economic sector, and the first to do so in such great detail."

Key findings include:

•Heat waves will become more frequent and intense, increasing threats to human health and quality of life. Extreme heat will also affect transportation and energy systems, and crop and livestock production.
•Increased heavy downpours will lead to more flooding, waterborne diseases, negative effects on agriculture, and disruptions to energy, water, and transportation systems.
•Reduced summer runoff and increasing water demands will create greater competition for water supplies in some regions, especially in the West.
•Rising water temperatures and ocean acidification threaten coral reefs and the rich ecosystems they support. These and other climate-related impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems will have major implications for tourism and fisheries.
•Insect infestations and wildfires are already increasing and are projected to increase further in a warming climate.
•Local sea-level rise of over three feet on top of storm surges will increasingly threaten homes and other coastal infrastructure. Coastal flooding will become more frequent and severe, and coastal land will increasingly be lost to the rising seas.

 

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