Above: The sun rises over Amaknak Island in the Aleutian island chain. (© Chris Burkard)
Editor’s note: This post was updated on August 10, 2017 to reflect a correction issued by the New York Times. It reads: “An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report. While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.”
A U.S. government study finds that climate change is already affecting many aspects of American life and that record-setting temperatures are likely to become the new norm.
A copy of the draft report, first reported by The New York Times, details the consequences of a dramatic rise in temperature observed in the United States since 1980, including impacts to agriculture, water supplies, infrastructure and human health.
The report’s findings are among the most comprehensive yet compiled.
The future of the government report, which is at odds with the official stance on climate change from the Trump Administration, is unclear. But it is just the latest gathering of scientific evidence of the effects that a changing climate is already having.
“The report brings the impacts of climate change home,” said Shyla Raghav, a climate change expert at Conservation International (CI). “In the past, we’ve tended to discuss adaptation as a developing country issue. Now, this national assessment and associated science allows us to understand how the United States is rapidly transforming in a changing climate. We can all now see that climate change is something that directly impacts our well-being, security, and future.”
“Thankfully, communities, cities, states and companies all around the United States understand what’s at stake and why it makes sense to act on climate change now,” added Raghav.
Bruno Vander Velde is Conservation International’s editorial director.