The impacts of global climate change have already been felt in the United States. At the end of 2018, the U.S. Government published the national climate report, which dealt with impacts, risks, and adaptation of climate change in the United States. The U.S. Climate Report detailed the measurable implications of global-warming trends upon not only the environment itself but on human health and the American economy. The summary of the findings are presented in the following.
The impacts of climate change are diverse
“Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.
Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaption efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over the country.
Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individuals and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.
Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and cost associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaption strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.
Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and economic systems.”
Ecosystem services continue to be threatened
“Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative effects on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such changes.
Rising temperature, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on range lands, and torrential downpours are expected to disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States increasingly. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, the decline in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.
U.S. aging and deteriorating infrastructure in further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaption, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.
The impacts of climate change increasingly threaten coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaption measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of the century, with impacts affecting other areas and sectors. Even in the future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.
Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.”
Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program, The Climate Report, The National Climate Assessment – impacts, risks, and adaptations in the United States, January 2019, Melville House Publishing
Additional information: https://www.globalchange.gov/