Climate report warns of grim economic consequences, worsening weather disasters in US


A USA government report says the impacts of climate change, including powerful storms, droughts and wildfires, are worsening in the United States. It projects widespread and growing devastation as increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, worsening wildfires, more intense storms and other cascading effects harm our ecosystems, infrastructure and society.

The report supplements a study issued past year that concluded humans are the main driver of global warming and warned of catastrophic effects to the planet.

"The biggest concern regarding climate change is less the change itself, and more the pace of change", said Jeff Berardelli, a CBS News climate and weather contributor.

The report also warns of economic consequences of inaction.

"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 of many US states", the report concluded.

Trump, administration officials and elected Republicans frequently say they can't tell how much of climate change is caused by humans and how much is natural. The report notes the last few years have smashed US records for damaging weather, costing almost $400 billion since 2015. He also pulled the USA out of the Paris climate accord.

In a worst-case climate-change scenario, the document finds, labor-related losses by 2090 as a result of extreme heat - the sort that makes it hard to work outdoors or seriously lowers productivity - could amount to an estimated $155 billion annually.

The report says climate change will cost the United States economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, damaging everything from human health to infrastructure and agricultural production. Without greenhouse gases, natural forces - such as changes in energy from the sun - would be slightly cooling Earth.

The assessment's dire conclusions are at odds with President Trump's efforts to dismiss the threat of climate change and his administration's push to slash environmental regulations and allow more planet-warming pollution.

These studies clash with policy under President Donald Trump.

Trump, as well as several members of his Cabinet, have also cast doubt on the science of climate change, saying the causes of global warming are not yet settled.

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Earlier this month, the president showed his scepticism of climate change in a tweet that suggests Mr Trump links global warming exclusively to warm weather.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters played down the report's findings on Friday.

"Warmer and drier conditions have contributed to an increase in large forest fires in the western United States and interior Alaska", the report says.

"We are seeing the things we said would be happening, happen now in real life", said another co-author Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

The White House has called the report - which was ordered by congress and written with the help of more than a dozen United States government agencies and departments - inaccurate.

While the report was initially scheduled to be released next month, CNN reported, the Trump administration chose to make it public on Friday afternoon - during a holiday weekend.

David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information, said in a conference call with reporters that "there has been no external interference" in the development of the report, but he and other federal officials presenting the report would not answer questions about whether the White House weighed in on its release date.

"As a climate scientist it is nearly surreal", she said. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement.

However, David Reidmiller, the director of the assessment, said the timing was in order to have the report come out ahead of United Nations climate talks, which begin in Poland on December 2, according to Axios.

"This report is clear: It's real".