WASHINGTON — A massive new federal report warns that extreme weather disasters, like California’s wildfires and this year’s hurricanes, are worsening in the United States. It also reveals the economic and health toll of climate change.
The report “concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.”
The National Climate Assessment was written long before the California fires and the hurricanes. It warns of more, stronger and longer disasters triggered at least in part by global warming.
Report co-author Katharine Hayhoe said it shows the dangerous weather that scientists said will happen in the United States is already happening.
The report is mandated by law. It also details how people’s health and different parts of the economy are being hurt.
“The continued warming that is projected to occur without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts,” it says.
It says that increasing water and air temperatures and more intense extreme events are expected to heighten exposure “to waterborne and foodborne diseases, affecting food and water safety.”
“The frequency and severity of allergic illnesses, including asthma and hay fever, are expected to increase as a result of a changing climate,” it says. “Climate change is also projected to alter the geographic range and distribution of disease-carrying insects and pests, exposing more people to ticks that carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile, and dengue, with varying impacts across regions.”
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