Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Climate change has the potential to lay waste to the U.S. economy and will cost it hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, according to a new report mandated by the U.S. Congress.
The just released “Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) 2017/2018,” affirms the existence of climate change and estimates climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. In making this declaration, NCA4 delivers a slap to the face of president Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which both continue to deny the existence of climate change.
First issued in 2000 under the presidency of George Bush, the report is mandated by law through the Global Change Research Act of 1990 and is submitted to the U.S. Congress every four years.
There have been four reports since then. The two-part report, NCA4, which took two years to complete, is the first major Trump administration climate report.
This newest report consists of 1,500 pages and was prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). It was produced with the assistance of 1,000 people, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.
NCA4 says that without more significant mitigation efforts, there will be “substantial damages on the U.S. economy, human health, and the environment. Under scenarios with high emissions and limited or no adaptation, annual losses in some sectors are estimated to grow to hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.”
It reports that across the United States, damage from climate change is “intensifying”. The report, which analyzed the effects of climate change by U.S. region, emphasized that poor and marginalized communities will be the most negatively impacted by the more destructive storms and weather patterns caused by global warming.
With continued growth in emissions in the U.S. 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.
NCA4 said that projections of further damage might change if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply curbed, even though many of the impacts of climate change are already under way. Theimpacts include more frequent and more powerful storms, droughts and flooding. It emphasized that future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today.
The report supplements a study issued last year that concluded humans are the main driver of global warming and warned of catastrophic effects to the planet. NCA4 contradicts Trump’s climate denial policies. Trump has been eliminating Obama-era environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) describes how NCA4 is based on “the best available science.” NCA4 serves to assist the U.S. in understanding, assessing, predicting and responding to climate change. It examines the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents could expect if drastic action is not taken to address climate change.
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