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Disasters Will Get Worse: U.S. Climate Report

Last year, Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement, which had been signed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change.

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Disasters
A firefighter searches for human remains in a trailer park destroyed in the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Paradise, California. VOA

A U.S. government report says the impacts of climate change, including powerful storms, droughts and wildfires, are worsening in the United States.

The report, written with the help of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and departments, frequently contradicts the statements and policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The congressionally mandated report was quietly issued Friday during a holiday weekend. The White House later dismissed the report as inaccurate, according to a Reuters report.

climate change, disasters
People clean up their house that was destroyed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. VOA

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Reuters Friday the report was “largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that…there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population.”

The National Climate Assessment, totaling more than 1,000 pages, warned of more powerful and longer weather disasters triggered at least, in part, by global warming.

It said such weather disasters are becoming more commonplace around the country and warned that without aggressive action they could become much worse.

Drought, Climate change, disasters
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA

While the report avoids policy recommendations, it said humans must take measures to stop future weather disasters “to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

“Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today,” the report said.

It predicted that climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century if no efforts are made to curb its effects and said global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor.

This year’s National Climate Assessment is the fourth time the U.S. government has issued a comprehensive look at climate change and is the first assessment to take place during the Trump administration. The last report came in 2014.

Hurricane, climate change, disasters
Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

11 Thirteen government departments and agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), were part of a committee of more than 300 researchers who compiled the assessment.

Several people involved in the report told The Washington Post that its release originally had been planned for early December. However, they said after a behind-the-scenes debate about when to make it public, administration officials settled on the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the slowest news days of the year.

During a press conference Friday, authors of the report said there had been “no external interference” in the assessment. Report director David Reidmiller said questions about the timing of the release were “relevant,” but said the contents of the report were more important.

Climate Change, Trump, disasters
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration has rolled back several environmental regulations put in place during former President Barack Obama’s administration and has promoted the production of fossil fuels.

Also Read: Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

Last year, Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement, which had been signed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change. He argued the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy and said there is little evidence in its environmental benefit.

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.

Friday’s report cites other climate studies, which say that humans have caused more than 90 percent of the current global warming. (VOA)

Next Story

Climate change, Pollution Causing Irreversible Damage to New Zealand’s Marine Environment

Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing

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Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
FILE - Activists march on Parliament to protest a lack of action on climate change, in Wellington, New Zealand, Sept. 27, 2019. VOA

Climate change, pollution and fishing are causing irreversible damage to New Zealand’s marine environment and putting many birds and mammals at risk of extinction, according to a new report from the nation’s Ministry for the Environment.

The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing into the oceans, and contaminating the coastline, it said.

The report said 90 percent of the country’s seabirds and about a quarter of its marine mammals are threatened with extinction, and that 16 percent of New Zealand’s fish stocks had been overfished.

“The sea is a receiving environment for what happens on the land, so our activities on land from the mountains to the sea are having an impact on what we are seeing in the marine environment; growing cities, forestry, agriculture — all delivering increasing amounts of sedimentation,” said Vicky Robertson, New Zealand’s secretary for the environment.

Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Pixabay

Warmer seas

The report also confirmed that New Zealand’s sea temperature had risen and was consistent with the global average. It also found sea levels were rising faster than before.

There was a warning, too, that New Zealand could expect more frequent marine heat waves, similar to those in 2017 and 2018, and ocean acidification.

For the first time, data from citizen scientists were used in the government report. Community groups were instructed about how to collect robust data.

Also Read- ‘AirPods Pro’ with Noise Cancellation Feature may Debut this Month

The next official marine environment report is due in three years.

New Zealand is a grouping of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. It has a population of 4.5 million people. (VOA)