Sunday, January 13, 2013

US Scientists Prepare New National Climate Assessment

Who knew?  U.S. government scientists are about to release an updated National Climate Assessment that warns the United States is in for a future of severe storm events of increasing intensity and frequency.

The draft version of the US National Climate Assessment reveals that increasing storm surges, floods, melting glaciers and permafrost, and intensifying droughts are having a profound effect on the lives of Americans.

"Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers have observed changes in their local climate that are outside of their experience," states the report.

Health services, water supplies, farming and transport are already being strained, the assessment adds. Months after superstorm Sandy battered the east coast, causing billions of dollars of damage, the report concludes that severe weather disruption is going to be commonplace in coming years. Nor do the authors flinch from naming the culprit. "Global warming is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels," it states.

The uncompromising language of the report, and the stark picture that its authors have painted of the likely effects of global warming, have profound implications for the rest of the world.

If the world's greatest economy is already feeling the strain of global warming, and is fearful of its future impact, then other nations face a very worrying future as temperatures continue to rise as more and more greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere.

"The report makes for sobering reading," said Professor Chris Rapley, of University College London. "Most people in the UK and US accept human-induced climate change is happening but respond by focusing attention elsewhere. We dismiss the effects of climate change as 'not here', 'not now', 'not me' and 'not clear'.

"This compelling new assessment by the US experts challenges all four comforting assumptions. The message is clear: now is the time to act!"

An updated National Climate Assessment is required by law every four years.   It is remarkable as we sit by, largely indifferent, as climate change unfolds right before our eyes.   We are now on the receiving end of a climate future we have written for ourselves, our children and theirs for generations to come.   We now have to confront two realities; one, we cannot undo what we have done and, two, while we can't prevent what's coming we can certainly make it much worse than it must be.

Unfortunately at this same moment we have seen fit to transform Canada into a classic petro-state with all the deviant mechanisms of governance that inevitably brings.

The tundra is burning.

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