The fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) was recently released from the US government and though it echoes previously published warnings, it’s got the world going viral about climate change. The NCA, which assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, came out with severe summary findings on communities, economy, and health, among other topics.
One summary finding has got economists worried sick: the reports says in a worst-case scenario the economy could fall by more than 10% of its GDP by the end of the century. That’s equivalent to hundreds of billions of dollars that are hitting hard mostly in the agricultural and livestock industries. From cows to shellfish, to corn and soy – it’s not looking good for our farmers – or for us.
The report also focused heavily on the health impacts that climate change will incur. Higher temperatures mean more premature deaths from heat stroke and other temperature-related health problems, more frequency of mosquito-borne diseases, worsening cases of asthma and allergies, as well as just more exposure to foodborne and waterborne diseases for everyone.
The assessment also touched on what increased heat means in particular for coastal communities: rising sea levels. Sea levels have already gone up 7 to 8 inches since 1900. “By midcentury, it's likely that the Arctic will lose all sea ice in late summer, and that could lead to more permafrost thaw,” reports CNN. “As the permafrost thaws, more carbon dioxide and methane would be released, amplifying human-induced warming, ‘possibly significantly.’”
The NCA is a result of collaboration between 13 federal agencies and over 1,000 people, including 300 leading scientists, about half of whom are not affiliated with the government. The team is called the US Global Change Research Program.
David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, emphasized that there was "no external interference in the report's development." Additionally, he stated commented that our current reality is quite the anomaly: "The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities," Easterling said.