Global Warming is Impacting Us Now, New Report Warns

Five major aspects of environmental wellness are threatening our health, and will continue to do more and more damage. This is according to a team of 28 climate scientists from US government agencies, universities, and independent research institutions, who have released a report on how climate change has already affected our health, economic wellness and social wellbeing.


The report compiles the most advanced research we have on global warming, confirming previous findings that rising temperatures are a result of human activity. Published by the government’s US Global Change Research Programme, the report highlights several global warming-related problems that have already begun to take shape in the US; prolonged droughts, more intense heat waves, and more severe weather events like floods. The question is, then, how will these environmental changes affect us?


Extreme heat waves: Not only will this change have a more disastrous impact on your health, it will also affect transport and energy systems, as well as our production of crops and livestock.


More instances of heavy downpours: This is a particular problem in western and south-western America, as more heavy downpours will cause the snow to melt more quickly, which will have an impact on the level and availability of drinking water in these areas. Moreover, increased heavy downpours will lead to increased flooding.


Rising water temperatures: In combination with the acidification of the oceans, the rising temperature of the water threatens coral reefs. As these reefs support rich ecosystems, this can cause environmental and economic damage because these areas are vital for the tourism and seafood industries.


Generally warming climate: The overall warming of the atmosphere is already having a negative effect in terms of insect infestations, as these are already on the rise and are projected to increase further in the future. The same can be said for wildfires, which can threaten homes, infrastructure and lives.


Rising sea levels: On top of storm surges, local sea-level rise of more than three feet, will increasingly threaten homes and other coastal infrastructure. There will also be more frequent and severe coastal flooding and, eventually, land along the coast will disappear into the rising seas.


For the report, the researchers calculated how taking immediate action to curb greenhouse gas emissions might affect our environmental outcomes, compared to what would happen if we did nothing. This was done using computer modelling, and the scientist found the situation may not be so bleak if we act and change our ways. The authors wrote, ‘Implementing sizable and sustained reductions in carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible would significantly reduce the pace and the overall amount of climate change, and would be more effective than reductions of the same size initiated later.’


Donald Wuebbles, PhD, one the report’s authors, commented in a press conference, ‘I remain optimistic that we can do something about this. We do need to act sooner rather than later because we want to avoid the worst changes, looking at these projections. We can do something about it, but we do need to act soon.’ Jane Lubchenco, PhD, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, added, ‘This report provides concrete scientific information that climate change is happening now and in our own backyards,’ and so we need to keep our eye on the ball, instead of putting environmental wellness on the back-burner while we deal with other issues.


Here’s a few changes you can make to mitigate climate change’s long-term effects:


1. Buy organic food.

2. Drive a more fuel-efficient car, or at drive more fuel-efficiently.

3. Conserve your energy use.

4. Fuel up your car after dark, when you’re less likely to lose petrol to evaporation.

5. Purchase responsibly harvested fish.


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