Archive for Climate Change

Recent Climate Change Reports

One Disaster Away (Center for Public Integrity) is a report series that will do deep dives into the four states most adversely affected by climate change, and how these states were instrumental in de-fanging the Obama-era Clean Power Plan; Ten Facts about the Economics of Climate Change and Climate Policy (from the Hamilton Project and Stanford University) investigates how climate change can have a deleterious effect on economic growth; Sea-level rise could flood hundreds of millions more than expected (MIT Technology Review); and Climate Change and Ecosystems (National Academies Press).

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California Wildfires in Pictures

This feature is from The New York Times. A picture can be worth a thousand words.

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As Sea Levels Are Predicted To Rise, See Where the Flooding Will Be

In light of last’s week climate report, you can also peruse this NOAA feature that shows how areas bordering the ocean will be affected by flooding. Just type in a city’s name and see the results.

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The World’s Oceans Rising Faster Than Initially Thought Due to Climate Change

This new report – Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  – predicts dire outcomes as the world’s oceans continue to rise due in large part to the ice melts of both Greenland and Antarctica. This report, heavily referenced, details changes in the oceans, polar regions, high mountain areas, and coastal communities. But according to the report, there is still time to avert climatic disaster:

The far-reaching services and options provided by ocean and cryosphere-related ecosystems can be supported by protection, restoration, precautionary ecosystem-based management of renewable resource use, and the reduction of pollution and other stressors (high confidence). Integrated water management (medium confidence) and ecosystem-based adaptation (high confidence) approaches lower climate risks locally and provide multiple societal benefits. [Section C2 of Headline Statements]

But the time is now. CNN provides an informative overview of this major report. And this series of reports should also be consulted to gauge the human impact of sea level rising.

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As Climate Change Continues, the Heat Index Increases

The heat index is used by the National Weather Service to issue heat event warnings. This article – Increased frequency of and population exposure to extreme heat index days in the United States during the 21st century –  from Environmental Research Communications– posits that this measure of the “apparent temperature” will reach beyond the upper thresholds of this tool as more episodes of high heat are experienced, putting millions of people at risk. The combination of high heat and humidity will jeopardize many with the likelihood of heat stroke. We will have an adumbration of this condition this upcoming weekend. Stay out of the sun, limit physical activity, and stay hydrated.


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Climate Change is a Priority Health Issue

Against a background of soaring temperatures in northern Europe (100+ degrees), rainfall that has flooded parts of southern New Jersey, hail the size of golf balls in France, and in light of the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit, a number of United States medical /health groups have joined together to issue U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda that states “Climate change is the ‘greatest public health challenge of the 21st century’.” This brief but cogent document outlines steps that must be taken to address this most pressing problem. Since climate change more adversely affects those already in dire straits, a social justice component in battling climate change is introduced.



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If You Think It’s Hot Now, Wait Until 2080

According to this study in Nature Communications – Contemporary climatic analogs for 540 North American urban areas in the late 21st century – climate change will so transform local weather that cities will then experience patterns akin to cities 280 miles south of them, so Washington, D.C. in 2080 will feel like Arkansas or Mississippi. As this article states: ” We show that climate of most urban areas will shift considerably and become either more akin to contemporary climates hundreds of kilometers away and mainly to the south or will have no modern equivalent.” (Abstract)

To see the visualizations for the 540 cities, please come here.

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New 2019 Threat Assessments: World Economic Forum and Pew Research Center

Two more important surveys have been recently released. In mid-January the World Economic Forum released its Global Risks Report 2019 that, inter alia, points out  “Environmental risks continue to dominate the results of our annual Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). This year, they accounted for three of the top five risks by likelihood and four by impact.”(6) Water crises figure prominently here.

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern just released from Pew Research Center further reinforces the view that environmental concerns pose major security issue in the near-term.


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“The Garden of Eden Is No More”

This is from part of Sir David Attenborough’s speech at Davos. Read the speech here and watch it here.

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World’s Oceans Warming Up More Quickly Than Previously Thought

While this article in Science is short, it surely gives rise to dire thoughts; this article from Scientific American explains the situation in more manageable terms. In either case, the outlook is not promising. As if this isn’t frightening by itself, this warming will only accelerate the Antarctic ice melt that has been increasing exponentially over the past years as seen in this recent Nature article

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Recent Climate Change Reports the Present Administration Tried To Hide

On Black Friday, when most people are recovering from either too much feasting or shopping and are not paying attention to the news, the Trump administration released two reports that present dire consequences if the current policies and practices of this presidency are not cancelled.

The first report – Federal Lands Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sequestration in the United States: Estimates for 2005-14 – from the United States Geological Survey – while “simplistic” and limited only to production on Federal lands, does point to a correlation between high fuel production and increased greenhouse gases (19). This is the first attempt are measuring the impact of the fuel sector on levels of gases and sequestration.

The second report, the  Congressionally mandated – Fourth National Climate Assessment – addresses the various impacts that climate change presents and the forecasts are not good. Each individual section of this report resonates with a clarion call for action immediately if this nation is to surmount the encroaching challenges. For example, this statement is from section 4 and summarizes/reinforces other pronouncements in this important document “Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today.”


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Near-Term Effects of Climate Change

Many people have entered a space where they consider the ramifications of climate change in a future-world; however, the most recent report from the IPCC – Global Warming of 1.5 °C – shows that we have mere decades to ameliorate this situation.

A massive literature review reinforcing the various scenarios lends credence to this report, and puts climate change deniers in the unenviable position of having little to no research to substantiate their viewpoints.

As this report states:

“Warming of 1.5°C is not considered ‘safe’ for most nations, communities, ecosystems and sectors and poses significant risks to natural and human systems as compared to current warming of 1°C (high confidence) {Cross-Chapter Box 12 in Chapter 5}. The impacts of 1.5°C would disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements (medium evidence, high agreement) {5.2.1}. Some of the worst impacts on sustainable development are expected to be felt among agricultural and coastal dependent livelihoods, indigenous people, children and the elderly, poor labourers, poor urban dwellers in African cities, and people and ecosystems in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)….” (Chapter 5, executive summary)

Not only does climate change affect the physical environment, but it also takes on toll on mental health. Please read: Climate Change and Mental Health (Union of Concerned Scientists); Climate Changes Mental Health (American Public Health Association); and Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions (International Journal of Mental Health Systems).


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Wildfire Statistics

With the whole West seemingly on fire, this CRS publication – Wildfire Statistics – crams a lot of data into two pages. Current through August 1, it makes for a sobering read. And yes, things are getting progressively worse over time.

Is climate change having an impact on the frequency and severity of the fires? Here are some readings of interest: Is Global Warming Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks?   (Union of Concerned Scientists); Wildfires and Climate Change (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions); How Climate Change Contributed to This Summer’s Wildfires (New Yorker); and  Wildfire responses to abrupt climate change in North America (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).


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New GAO Report on Climate Change

This report – Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure – estimates that weather-related damages over the past decade have cost the country $350 billion. And that does not include the recent spate of fires and hurricanes. According to the highlights page “The federal government has not undertaken strategic government-wide planning to manage climate risks by using information on the potential economic effects of climate change to identify significant risks and craft appropriate federal responses.” The full report laments both the lack of nation-wide information on climate risks as well as the depressing fact that despite its recommendations over the years, no movement was made by the government to undertake its recommendations. Numerous references make this report a valuable read on how the government has NOT devised any strategies to deal with data-gathering on climate risk and its impact on developing response mechanisms. This despite the fact the climate change has been a high risk topic for the GAO for some time now. Please view these hundreds of reports and testimonies generated by the GAO on climate change.



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Interviews With Hurricane Sandy Witnesses from New Jersey

As we remember Hurricane Sandy, having recourse to these interviews of those who were there will readily reinforce the memories we all have of that day and the days that followed.

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New Report on Sea Level Rise

With the recent emphasis on sea level rise, this seems as good a time as any to direct you to this summary of a conference held by the National Academy of Engineering – Responding to the Threat of Sea Level Rise. This is a short, accessible summary of the proceedings.


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Climate Change Is Already Affecting Us

The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) states that “Evidence for a changing climate abound, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Thousands of studies by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes….Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities…are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes.”(11) Past, present and future impacts on the United States and the world are found on pp.13-14.

This version of the document is its third draft; the fifth draft, fundamentally unchanged from its predecessor, is at the White House, waiting approval for release. A review of this report was undertaken by the National Academies of Sciences that found “The Committee agrees that the draft CSSR is largely accurate and generally represents the breadth of available literature pertaining to the state of the science at the time of writing, with the exception of some specific topic areas detailed in this report.”(5) The CSSR is part of the fourth iteration of the National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally mandated review of climate due out every four years, the next to be delivered in late 2018.

In a related development, The Guardian has just published a series of emails detailing how the term “weather extremes” is to be used rather than “climate change” within parts of the Department of Agriculture. Other euphemisms are also indicated. This follows a similar pattern at the EPA.

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National Academies Press “America’s Climate Choices” Series

“Produced at the request of Congress, the America’s Climate Choices series of reports provides authoritative analyses to inform and guide responses to climate change across the nation.  The reports were produced by committees of experts convened by the National Research Council….” There are four volumes in the series along with an overview volume. For additional climate science reports/documents by this esteemed publisher, please visit this site

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More Species Threatened By Climate Change Than First Thought

According to this article from Nature Climate Change, “Our results suggest that populations of large numbers of threatened species are likely to be already affected by climate change, and that conservation managers, planners and policy makers must take this into account in efforts to safeguard the future of biodiversity.” The percentage of endangered species facing imminent eradication is much higher than first postulated. More efforts need to be expended in the here and now, rather than in future speculation.

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What Is New Jersey Doing About Drought?

For those who do not know, northern and central New Jersey are now under a drought warning, the first issued in 15 years. We remember the last time a drought warning was declared – you needed permission to refill your swimming pool and a placard had to be prominently displayed verifying that you indeed had the go-ahead to do so. Lawn-watering was curtailed and car-washing was forbidden, among other steps. So you would think the state would have mobilized around a water plan to address this dire situation. Come on, this is Jersey. The last time the master state plan for water was updated was in 1996! And the population of the state has increased by over 500,000 just since 2000. NJ Spotlight has a good report on the situation; a recent report/presentation by the state climatologist is online.

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