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The U.S. Global Change Research Program released a landmark report on climate change on May 6, put together by over 300 experts across multiple government agencies. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) finds that climate change is already affecting the U.S. – from changing weather patterns to increased floods, wildfires, droughts, pest outbreaks and more.
“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report concludes. The NCA draws a direct link between the burning of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change.
The report also offers details on how different regions of the United States are affected differently. For example, in the mountain west and southwest, reduced snowpack, rising temperatures, and drought will impact agriculture. On the other hand, in the northeast, hurricanes and other extreme weather events could lead to an increased frequency in flooding.
The Washington Post published a related article on U.S. President Barack Obama’s renewed determination to address climate change. He has been regularly briefed on climate science and now sees it as a major aspect of his legacy. In the article, he speaks in personal terms about how climate change will affect his daughters’ lives.
The NCA’s rollout will coincide with a reinvigorated White House strategy to address climate change, according to the Post.
The White House plans to use the NCA as the basis for how it will address greenhouse gas emissions in Obama’s remaining two-and-a-half years in office. The most ambitious of these measures will be the pending limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, which the EPA plans to introduce in June.
The Obama administration has several other key environmental decisions to make in the coming months, including the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline and how to address methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com