Fourth National Climate Assessment  



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Sunday November 25, 2018 – Fourth National Climate Assessment – The Fourth National Climate Assessment was released with little fanfare on November 23, 2018.  The Global Change Research Act of 1990 calls for the release of a report on the impacts of climate change every for years and this one was quite grim.


It spelled out a message that was very different from the one that is being put forward by President Trump and the Republican Party.  Its release on black Friday has led many to speculate that this was done on purpose when everyone was distracted by the busiest shopping day of the year. 


Al Gore said "Unbelievably deadly and tragic wildfires rage in the west, hurricanes batter our coasts — and the Trump administration chooses the Friday after Thanksgiving to try and bury this critical U.S. assessment of the climate crisis.  The President may try to hide the truth, but his own scientists and experts have made it as stark and clear as possible.".


The report was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) but is based on the published work of over 300 climate scientists.  It spells out the economic social impact that a changing climate is likely to have on the lives of US Citizens.


One key takeaway about air pollution  reads, "More than 100 million people in the United States live in communities where air pollution exceeds health-based air quality standards. Unless counteracting efforts to improve air quality are implemented, climate change will worsen existing air pollution levels. This worsened air pollution would increase the incidence of adverse respiratory and cardiovascular health effects, including premature death. Increased air pollution would also have other environmental consequences, including reduced visibility and damage to agricultural crops and forests."


Air pollution is something that I have focused on since I founded many years ago.  The burning of fossil fuels doesn't just emit carbon dioxide but also emits many other chemicals, some of which are quite toxic, including things like oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons.  Electric Vehicles are a good way to eliminate most of these toxins.


The report even went into issues that climate change may have on our water supply.  In the summary they wrote "The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment."  They included things that you may not normally think about such as the risk that extended drought can create for hydro-electric power especially in the North Western States.  Dropping water levels in Lake Mead have already forced the city of Los Vegas to dig new tunnels to access water in the lake as levels continue to drop, and it is only a matter of time that levels drop so low that they fall below the intake for the hydro-electric plant.  This is not totally due to climate change but is made worse by it. 


If anything will get the attention of the Republicans it is on the Economy where the report summary says "With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states.".


Showing once again is total lack of understanding of the difference between climate and weather the President tweeted :“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”, just two days before the report came out.


If this report is anything close to accurate, and there is little reason to doubt that it is not, then we really need to start doing things now to prevent leaving a catastrophe for our grandchildren. 


The costs of not taking immediate action to try and contain global warming is staggering.  Anyone in our government who is not willing to take action on what our own government scientists are telling them is either incredibly incompetent or bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry.  Keep this in mind the next time you cast your ballot in an election. 


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