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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe 627

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post on the U.S. government's newest national assessment of climate change. It says Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. 'Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.' The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. 'What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'"
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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

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  • by dicobalt ( 1536225 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:23PM (#46932383)
    It looks like they are having a hard time discerning predictions and actual events. The 2013 Atlantic season had ZERO major hurricanes, and only TWO total hurricanes. []
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spy Handler ( 822350 )

      Come on, this is Newscience. Predictive ability of a theory has no relevance anymore. All you have to do is keep issuing more and more dire warning and lots of press releases, backed by a consensus. In Newscience, if you repeat a mantra often enough, it becomes true.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      Hurricanes impacting the US have been on the decline [] for decades. The warmists wanted to start naming hurricanes after congressional "deniers" in 2013. Only problem was we didn't get any. At least none worth trying to use for political demagoguery.

    • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

      Wow, that one data point you have for one year is certainly damning!

      After all, everyone knows that climate is a simple system where if you feed more energy in, then you see output increase linearly.

      Good thing you read the actual report and ensured that the summary was only speaking of Atlantic hurricanes in 2013.

      You'd look like quite the idiot if you found out (just picking a random example), that the measurement was a study of hurricanes since 1980.

  • Very one sided (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:25PM (#46932425)

    It's extremely difficult to accept at face value a report that says every possible outcome from climate change is bad.

    Especially when it comes from an administration that campaigned on the theme of change.

    Several of the items they cite are not even principally related to climate change, but to population and
    population density increases, and to past fire suppression policies. People being people, not people changing the climate.

  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:27PM (#46932445) Homepage Journal
    The flood and crop damage we are experiencing are covered by federal insurance programs, but the extra damage is caused by growing emissions. We should not be raising premiums in response to this, but rather we should impose climate damage tariffs on imports from countries that are increasing emissions to try to gain advantage in world markets. GATT Article XX provides for this. [] Using greenhouse gas emissions as a weapon to disadvantage our agricultural exports and damage our manufacturing infrastructure near flood plains must be stopped.
  • by dovf ( 811000 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:29PM (#46932481)
    This report is also reviewed [] over at Slate by the Bad Astronomer.
  • La La La La La La! I'm not listening!

  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:34PM (#46932545) Journal

    Interesting that just today, I also read this article: []

    It claims that a full 1/3rd. of the warming in the 1990's, on record, was actually due to water vapor in the air, vs. CO2 emissions and the like. Yes, it's not saying this is cause to deny the phenomenon, but it shows how we're still really in the early stages of understanding the details..... The statements of fact about exactly what's happening are largely premature.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      It actually makes perfect sense. You warm things up a bit and that gets more water vapor in the air causing further warming.

    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

      a full 1/3rd. of the warming in the 1990's, on record, was actually due to water vapor in the air, vs. CO2 emissions and the like

      Yup. Warmer air will hold more water vapour. So a small amount of warming from CO2 will be amplified by the water vapour feedback. This was anticipated by the models and can now be observed.

  • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:35PM (#46932555)
    My 2014 Mustang GT (Premium) has 425 horsepower and runs like an ape with his ass on fire. I'm grilling steaks this weekend and drinking beer on the deck in my back yard. Every night I sleep with my air conditioner set to 70 and I water my lawn daily. I'm having way too much fun to care about this subject. The climate will change and we'll adapt and even if we don't I'll be dead in a few decades and won't give a shit then either. I'm also not paying back any of that money my elected representatives borrowed from China. Sadly none of that was meant to be sarcastic. It's all true. That last part was sarcastic. There's nothing sad about it. Have a beer and pull up a chair on the deck. It's going to be a long drought and/or ice age. Might as well get comfortable.
    • Did the mullet come with the car, or did you have to grow it separately?

      (kidding, of course. The sad thing is, that car probably gets mileage than than just about anything made before 1990)

      • Mullets are so late-70's. Today it's the "Clippers please, #2 on the sides" look that's replaced it. I get 18/25 with the Mustang and while I'm not always laying on it I don't make any effort to nurse it along either. It does do well compared to the old ones.
    • Downside: You'll go down in history as being a part of the problem rather than the solution. Your descendants will wonder what the hell you were thinking.

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:35PM (#46932563)
    While I believe this report is overall truthful, I can't help but think of Clair Cameron Patterson []. It took him 20 years of fighting corporations and their "bought and payed for" scientists to convince enough people in our government that the nation was dying due to lead poisoning to actually do something about it. This despite the fact that the reality of it was in-your-face blatant the whole time. We should all consider him a hero and be thankful that he solely lead the charge against the ridicule he faced. Although a largely unsung and unknown hero, he really did save the nation. The convincing that needs done now is a bit more diverse and politically complicated. Lets hope we come to our senses in time on the issue of climate change as we did with lead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      There's this unspoken assumption by "both sides" that serious measures, i.e. a command-and-control type solution, is what the doctor has ordered.

      Yet a quick look around the world, and at history, shows we will be better off adapting and chamging rather than puttng brakes on things. The average wellbeing depends on a powerful economy to provide and invent. Command and control sucks at both, in spite of the apparently rational idea it should not. It is empirical data.

      • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
        There is a point where a species cannot adapt and change fast enough. We do not yet fully understand the implications of a fully realized man-made global warming event, at what point it could become a runaway event, and where that might lead. The reason the Permian extinction event "The Great Dying" killed 99% of all life on Earth, was due to the Earth rapidly flip flopping between deep freeze and hot enough to bake a loaf of bread on the surface. Evolution simply could not keep up. The halls of extinction
      • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:07PM (#46932947) Journal

        And how would we have adopted to lead poisoning? We put the brakes on lead, CFCs, China-style air pollution (see: late 1800s/early 1900s US) and just dumping toxic shit into the environment until the land went barren and the rivers caught fire, and yet we're still here. We command and controlled those problems into submission like a bunch of commies and yet there are no bread lines.

        You might want to take a closer look at history.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:37PM (#46932583)

    Latest episode of Cosmos broadcast on Fox TV:
    "We just can't seem to stop burning up all those buried trees from way back in the carboniferous age, in the form of coal, and the remains of ancient plankton, in the form of oil and gas. If we could, we'd be home free climate wise. Instead, we're dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the Earth hasn't seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past, the ones that led to mass extinctions. We just can't seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves. All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need. Why can't we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us? The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What's our excuse?"
    The show: []
    The news: []

    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      News Corp will sell anything they think they can sell. They'll sell science on Fox Broadcasting and paranoia on Fox News. The various properties don't have to get along, so long as they're profitable. Witness this jab at Fox News by The Simpsons, which also appears on Fox Broadcasting: []

    • Our excuse?

      Well... well... I DON'T WANNA DO WITHOUT MY SUV!!!

      (and yes, I'm aware that caps are yelling, that's the idea behind it, thanks for the info, /.)

      • Our excuse?
        Well... well... I DON'T WANNA DO WITHOUT MY SUV!!!

        Is that what all the fuss is about? Best I know, the "climate-changer's" agenda is simply stuff we ought to be doing anyway, like reducing emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. You know, things that also help with smog, health, war, pollution/land-wasting/strip-mining, and other things we all know are bad already. Climate change is just one more reason, right?

        The coal and oil barons have a problem, sure, 'cause taxes and regulations for this or that reason eat into their easy money. But your

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At least here in the west, the increased wildfire issues are also partially caused by lack of proper forest-management. Wildfires are a natural phenomenon that allow forests to rebuild themselves - but in our zeal to prevent them, and also to prevent forest thinning via logging over the last few decades, we are breeding wildfire territories.

    As for water shortages in California - we have been court-ordered to drain reservoirs and dump extra water into our rivers in order to flood the delta so that "endangere

  • Streets and rivers are flooding more so it MUST be global warming. It can't have anything to do with the millions of square miles (guesstimate) of asphalt and buildings we construct each year which prevent water from entering the ground and funnel them into concrete ditches instead.
  • by RocketScientist ( 15198 ) * on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:50PM (#46932723)

    I think the President should go on a few more golf outings, you know, fly in his big old 747 to somewhere far away and play a round or two, and then fly back to DC. Then, we need to have a UN Climate Summit somewhere tropical, and figure out how to solve the logistics problems inherent in having a meeting in a remote location, like how to make sure adequate supplies of caviar are flown in fresh daily and where to park all the jets ferrying individuals to their destination.

    I'll believe it's a problem when the people who are telling me it's a problem start acting like it's a problem. When the logistics problems go from caviar to videoconferencing bandwidth. When the President decides that golfing locally is a better idea than flying somewhere.

    "Oh, you just don't understand international diplomacy and the need for face-to-face communications to achieve consensus!"

    You're asking me to change my life and not accepting any changes in the way you live yours. Hypocrisy at its finest.

  • I bought my house and went crazy upside down on it. I'm in the better part of nation for climate predictions. Looks like my property value is set to skyrocket once everyone else runs out of water/food.

  • "Smoking" gun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:55PM (#46932775)
    The Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health came out in 1964. It clearly and undeniably showed the evidence that smoking was harmful. Now, 50 years later, only about 1/2 of the states have actually banned smoking in enclosed public spaces.

    Why does anyone expect America to respond to AGW any quicker or more effectively?
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:57PM (#46932813) Homepage

    When the international communities remark with amazement at how recalcitrant american business, government, and even its own people are to even the suggestion of climate change I cant help but wonder if, as an american, people from other countries have a full understanding of just what it would mean for us to change...Everything we do, and all that we are, is prediacted upon cheap reliably supplied oil. this was a decision made after world war 2 and reinforced by the carter doctrine of foreign policy. it was a horrendous mistake.

    We dont have local farms or slaughterhouses. everything is created in one place, and delivered by trucks that run on roads subsidized by american taxpayers from one of maybe a handful of factory farms dotted throughout the midwest. American markets have no season; if you want a jackfruit, it can and will be delivered more than two thousand miles to you and the ramifications of that is not even a cursory consideration. Drinks are kept cold, constantly. Ice is plentifully and liberally added to nearly any beverage you get. Beer hovers somewhere around the freezing mark. We can do this because the way we approach energy is just as we had in the 50's.

    our rail system is no different than it was in the early 50's. slight modifications have been made to handle larger cargo, but the system runs at around 40 miles per hour and carries only the most cumbersome goods. Cars, Coal, shale oil and natural gas are the chief passengers. toxins too dangerous to transport by semi truck, things like hydrofluoric acid, are also frequently transported. Corridor rail systems used in boston and LA that do in fact transport people are powered exclusively by diesel, as are all our rail systems. We have minimal and fiercely debated electric light rail systems in some cities, and some have transitioned their busses to natural gas, however outside our largest four or five metropolitan areas every transportation request you have will be granted by the automobile.

    Im not trying to justify what we do or why we do it. Its sad, and unsustainable in my opinion but whats important to understand is that acknowledging climate change and doing something productive about it in America means infrastructure overhaul not seen since Franklin Delano Rosevelt. It means the average 1 hour american car drive to work has to stop. Perpetually illuminated office buildings have to stop. Cities like phoenix will have to stop landscaping bluegrass lawns and water features into communities and we as a nation will have to swallow a nice big slice of 'we did it wrong' pie. The reasons we dont do anything about this problem are mostly political, but under the politics and the money, you have a system of society that is at its foundation based on conspicuous, questionless consumption and the planned obsolescence of nearly everything. anything to retard or stymy consumption is seen as a natural threat.

  • Okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cshark ( 673578 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @06:55PM (#46934795)

    You know, I hate to be the one to point this out, but nearly every one of those things can be attributed to governmental overreach as much as it can be attributed to the environment. Just look at the water shortage statistics. States that were hit the hardest all had laws against rain water collection. Wildfires, likewise, may also be related to the insane laws we have in place. Insurance companies are being regulated to death, and are playing it as safe as they legally can. It has more to do with this insatiable need to regulate the hell out of them than it does with actual conditions. Sea levels go up and down all year long, and no amount of climate change legislation is going to have any power to control that. Of course the government is going to tell you that climate change is a big problem, and that more of your tax money is needed to combat it. They have a profit motive to do so, duh. The people to listen to here are the ones who have no political or financial agenda.

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek