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Climate change has affected every part of US: government report (downtoearth)

People in the US are already feeling the effects of climate change as the average temperature in the country has increased rapidly and drastically since 1980, according to a federal climate change report prepared by scientists from 13 federal agencies. The report, which is awaiting Trump administration’s approval, claims that the recent decades have been the warmest in the past 1,500 years.

Attributing the climate change to human activities, especially greenhouse gas emissions, the scientists observed that even if greenhouse gas emission is completely stopped today, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.30°C of warming over this century as compared with today. The report concludes that a small difference in global temperatures can make a huge difference in the climate. In fact, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C rise in global temperatures could mean longer heat waves and more intense rainstorms.

The Environment Protection Agency is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report by Aug. 18. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. “This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it,” Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University, told New York Times.

Warmer days and rise in annual average temperature

The authors of the report attributed 2003 European heat wave and the record heat in Australia in 2013 to a man-made factor, and added that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

After examining every part of the US, the report found that all of it was touched by climate change. The number and severity of cool nights have decreased since the 1960s and the frequency and severity of warm days have increased. Similarly, extreme cold waves have become less common and heat waves more common since the 1980s.

Much to the fear of climate change believers, the report noted that the average annual temperature in the US will increase, making recent record-setting years “relatively common” in the future. Depending on the level of future emissions, the annual temperature may increase between 2.8 and 4.8°C before the end of this century.

More alarming facts were revealed when it comes to precipitation. The average annual rainfall across the US has increased by about 4 per cent since the beginning of the 20th century, and while parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, the Southern Plains and the Midwest are getting wetter. The scientists also observed that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States pointing out how accelerating land and sea ice melting is causing sea level to rise and threatening country’s coastal communities. According to them, restricting the global mean temperature increase to 2°C will require significant reductions in global CO2 levels.

Despite mounting evidence in support of anthropogenic climate change, President Trump continues to stay in denial mode. He not only walked out of the Paris Agreement but also called it detrimental for the US economy. His government is still pursuing a policy of expanding access to fossil fuels is part and turning the US into an oil, natural gas and coal exporting powerhouse. It also wants to continue to export fracking technology to other countries.

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