Federal report: Warming disrupts Americans' lives

It's not too late to prevent the worst, scientists say
Associated Press
May 7, 2014


Most Americans are already feeling man-made global warming, from heat waves to wild storms to longer allergy seasons. And it is likely to get worse and more expensive, says a new federal report that is heating up political debate along with the temperature.

Shortly after the report came out Tuesday, President Barack Obama used several television weathermen to make his point about the bad weather news and a need for action to curb carbon pollution before it is too late.

"We want to emphasize to the public, this is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now," Obama told "Today" show weathercaster Al Roker. "Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak."

Climate change's assorted harms "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond," the National Climate Assessment concluded, emphasizing the impact of too-wild weather as well as simple warming.

Still, it's not too late to prevent the worst of climate change, says the 840-page report, which the Obama administration is highlighting as it tries to jump-start often-stalled efforts to curb heat-trapping gases. Said White House science adviser John Holdren: "It's a good-news story about the many opportunities to take cost-effective actions to reduce the damage."

Release of the report, the third edition of a congressionally mandated study, gives Obama an opportunity to ground his campaign against climate change in science and numbers, endeavoring to blunt the arguments of those who question the idea and human contributions to such changes. Later this summer, the administration plans to propose new regulations restricting gases that come from existing coal-fired power plants.

Not everyone is persuaded.

Some fossil energy groups, conservative think tanks and Republican senators immediately assailed the report as "alarmist." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama was likely to "use the platform to renew his call for a national energy tax. And I'm sure he'll get loud cheers from liberal elites — from the kind of people who leave a giant carbon footprint and then lecture everybody else about low-flow toilets."

Since taking office, Obama has not proposed a specific tax on fossil fuel emissions. He has proposed a system that caps emissions and allows companies to trade carbon pollution credits, but it has failed in Congress.

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said the report was supposed to be scientific but "it's more of a political one used to justify government overreach." And leaders in the fossil fuel industry, which is responsible for a large amount of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide, said their energy is needed and America can't afford to cut back.

"Whether you agree or disagree with the report, the question is: What are you going to do about it? To us that is a major question," said Charlie Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. He called the report "overblown."

The report — which is full of figures, charts and other research-generated graphics — includes 3,096 footnotes referring to other mostly peer-reviewed research. It was written by more than 250 scientists and government officials, starting in 2012. A draft was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, including twice by the National Academy of Sciences which called it "reasonable," and "a valuable resource."

Environmental groups praised the report. "If we don't slam the brakes on the carbon pollution driving climate change, we're dooming ourselves and our children to more intense heat waves, destructive floods and storms and surging sea levels," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Scientists and the White House called it the most detailed and U.S.-focused scientific report on global warming.

The report looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together.

"All Americans will find things that matter to them in this report," said scientist Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory, who chaired the science committee that wrote it. "For decades we've been collecting the dots about climate change; now we're connecting those dots."

In a White House conference call with reporters, National Climatic Data Center Director Tom Karl said his two biggest concerns were flooding from sea level rise on the U.S. coastlines — especially for the low-lying cities of Miami, Norfolk, Virginia, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire — and drought, heat waves and prolonged fire seasons in the Southwest.

Even though the nation's average temperature has risen by between 1.3 and 1.9 degrees since record keeping began in 1895, it's in the big, wild weather where the average person feels climate change the most, said co-author Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University climate scientist. Extreme weather hits us in the pocketbooks and can be seen with our own eyes, she said.

The report says the intensity, frequency and duration of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, but it is still uncertain how much of that is from man-made warming. Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity and have shifted northward since the 1950s, it says. Also, heavy downpours are increasing — by 71 percent in the Northeast. Heat waves, such as those in Texas in 2011 and the Midwest in 2012, are projected to intensify nationwide. Droughts in the Southwest are expected to get stronger. Sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880 and is projected to rise between 1 foot and 4 feet by 2100.

Climate data center chief Karl highlighted the increase in downpours. He said last week's drenching, when Pensacola, Florida, got up to two feet of rain in one storm and parts of the East had three inches in one day, is what he's talking about.

The report says "climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways." Those include smoke-filled air from wildfires, smoggy air from pollution, and more diseases from tainted food, water, mosquitoes and ticks. And ragweed pollen season has lengthened.

Flooding alone may cost $325 billion by the year 2100 in one of the worst-case scenarios, with $130 billion of that in Florida, the report says. Already the droughts and heat waves of 2011 and 2012 have added about $10 billion to farm costs, the report says.




Any news release is applicable as long as it aims away from asking

What happened to the Democrats slogan 'Its the ECONOMY STUPID". So how about staying home instead of taking 10 million dollar vacations and DO YOUR JOB.

I'm tired of these press releases and the press itself avoiding REAL questions and issues, people are hurting and Obozo talks about climate change. Soon electricity will rise over 32% due to Obozo's policies, how about asking him about what is being done about that!

Really are you ...

I can fix the electrical problem. But who really cares? Who cares about anything but themselves? I am stalling on purpose. Why fix it if I feel invisible?


climate change is important too. a job won't mean a thing if you have no earth to hold it on. and yes, utilities are getting too expensive and water could soon be a thing of the past, as well as gasoline. there are many important issues that people seem to overlook, some perhaps on purpose. one smokescreen issue that is only important to some: gay marriage which ends up in the media way more than climate change.

From the Grave

The headline pretty much tells the story~"..disrupts Americans' lives." As if, people in other countries don't matter, and the Earth itself doesn't matter.

The Earth eventually will kill us off and then wait patiently while it heals itself over the next half a million years.


Re: "Flooding alone may cost $325 billion by the year 2100 in one of the worst-case scenarios, with $130 billion of that in Florida,"

More building of housing along the coasts and in flood plains - duh.


Re: "bad weather news"

Don't the warmers continually tell everyone that it's "climate" NOT "weather"?

Make up your big govt. controlled minds.

The Bizness

Welcome back contango, its been a while!

Climate is different than weather, but climate does effect an areas weather. However, you can never blame a single weather event on climate change.


Re: "you can never blame a single weather event on climate change."

Which the warmers tend to do, i.e. Sandy.

Not quite a Cat 1 when it hit. "Super Storm"???

The overbuilding and poor storm surge prep along the coast made the cost and extent of the damage worse.

Also, WH advisor John Podesta:

Wanna see the effects of climate change? "I’d say that probably look out your window."



I dunno about the coming summer, but the past winter disrupted my life a bit.


Let's fight global warming by eliminating cheap electricity from coal and bankrupt the US and it's citizens....

...While the third world doesn't care and has no pollution laws.

Liberal idiots think this will work.

Dr. Information

They are predicting less hurricanes and severe storms this year. Where are the global warming....ehhh I mean climate change.....I mean environmental justice nuts at on this?

We live in Ohio, there are going to be a bad year or two where we get a lot of snow. Last time was 78, now nearly 40 years later we are going to blame one bad winter on global warming/climate change/environmental justice?

These stats are comical that the left use to push their carbon credit agenda.


SOMEONE has to pay for the indolent class to procreate for profit.

Coram Deo

George Will gets it.


"For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up its waves." Psalm 107:25 Now that's real climate change.

JMOP's picture

Oh, and I'm sure that Tom Steyer and the timing of this report have nothing to do with each other.


In 1970, they said New York would be under water by 2000 due to global warming. In 1975, we were entering another ice age. This is all political mumbo jumbo to further their own causes.


I don't know what's true and what isn't regarding weather, climate or our government. I suspect much of the U.S. will end up devastated by some catastrophic event or another at some point. I think it's best to find high ground, get some flashlights and build ye a bunker.


Naw...one of the worst droughts in Cali. (That's from recorded records over a century ago) In Celeryville, Ohio soil USED to be level with S.R. 103. That was from my relatives that farmed there (muck) Figures don't lie, but liars figure. Hey... believe in the Bible? That book also predicts famine.


And Ohio had some of its coldest weather in nearly a century. What is your point? Things cycle, records will be broke. Texas had a drought 2 years ago and recovered. Half of the midwest two summers ago dried up and most crops were tilled back in.

Droughts happen, records break. Its people like you that seem to think the world revolves around you and your slim time frame of existence on earth and that plays right into the political scam.


Here is how it works, people.
Identify a "problem". Point it out to the government and request fund$ for your department and university to study the "problem". Soon, point out that the "problem" is greater than first thought and more fund$ are needed to really dig into it.
Other universities recognize a cash cow when they see one and jump on the bandwagon. Everybody sees the same "problem" and the more they study it, the more critical it becomes.
Politicians now recognize an opportunity to control and tax things that they're told are causing this "problem". Since now the gov. needs a reason to stick its nose in, more "findings" must be produced hence more fund$ dolled out to feed the gov. with more scary predictions.
The fact being that all this is based on computer models and not scientific facts. Remember "Garbage in, garbage out." A scientific fact is something whose findings can be duplicated and verified by other scientists. Otherwise, it's just somebody's theory.
Remember, year to year weather is not long term climate.

2cents's picture

True story: My uncle started a company and lived off government grants to develop energy from alternate resources. He lived well, even came up with a prototype to make gasoline from cow crap. He and dad never saw eye to eye because dad worked for a living. When Reagan came in he chopped off all the BS spending and uncle had to get a real job. I hope and pray we get a tough nuts new president next time that is not run by others!

There you go again

Our grandchildren, their children, etc. will have enough problems with the super trillion debt we are leaving them. Global warming will be second to the weight of our debt.