The federal government’s third National Climate Assessment was released yesterday with one message that was repeated throughout the media. That message is: Climate change is already disrupting the economy, people’s lives, and ecosystems across the country. IT’S REAL! IT’S HERE! IT’S NOW! AND IT’S BAD!
Here are the first few paragraphs of a story from the Washington Post.
The government’s newest national assessment of climate change declares that increased global warming is affecting every part of the United States.
The report released Tuesday cites wide and severe impacts: more sea-level rise, flooding, storm surges, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and the Caribbean; and more drought and wildfires in the Southwest.
“For a long time, we have perceived climate change as an issue that’s distant, affecting just polar bears or something that matters to our kids,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and a co-author of the report. “This shows it’s not just in the future; it matters today. Many people are feeling the effects.”
The federal climate assessment — the third since 2000 — brought together hundreds of experts in academia and government to guide U.S. policy based on the best available climate science.
A quick internet search produced several hundred similar stories.
There are two obvious problems with the National Climate Assessment. The first is the fact that the global mean temperature has not increased in the past seventeen years. This means that the Assessment is claiming that the effects (disruption) are preceding the cause (warming). I guess the disruption will really be bad if temperatures do actually start to go up.
The second problem with the Assessment is that it does not recognize that all climate disruptions are not created equal. Does the Obama Administration really think that Americans have already forgotten the past five months of winter? The fact is that cold, snowy weather is much more disruptive to people’s lives and the economy than hot weather.
As a reminder, here are a few highlights from the winter just past: [click to continue…]