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The U.S. Global Research Program Explained

Since 1989, USGCRP has submitted annual reports, called Our Changing Planet, to Congress.

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Climate Change, U.S.
A firefighter sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, Calif., Nov. 9, 2018. A new federal report warns that extreme weather disasters are worsening in the U.S. The report, issued Nov. 23, also frequently contradicts President Donald Trump. VOA

On Friday, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the National Climate Assessment, a report that says the impacts of climate change, including powerful storms, droughts and wildfires, are worsening in the United States.

The report also said these more powerful, longer-lasting weather disasters are 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.

Climate change, U.S.
Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C. VOA

What it is: The USGCRP is a federal program mandated by Congress to coordinate federal research and investments in understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society. As the leading federal authority on global change science, USGCRP and its member agencies play a key role in engaging and educating citizens about climate and related global change.

What its mandate is: USGCRP was established by presidential initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 to “assist the nation and the world to understand, assess, predict and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”

What agencies are included: The USGCRP is composed of 13 federal agencies and departments that conduct or use research on global change and its impacts on society, in support of the nation’s response to global change.

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

What the USGCRP’s main functions are:

1. Advance global change science
2. Prepare nation for change
3. Assess U.S. climate
4. Coordinate internationally
5. Link climate and health
6. Provide data and tools
7. Make science accessible

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

What its history is: Since 1989, USGCRP has submitted annual reports, called Our Changing Planet, to Congress. The reports describe the status of USGCRP research, provide progress updates and document recent accomplishments, in particular the broad spectrum of USGCRP activities that extend from Earth system observations, modeling and fundamental research through synthesis and assessment, decision support, education and public engagement. (VOA)

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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)