Dow Jones Newswires
Climate change is having a present-day, negative impact on Americans' everyday lives and damaging the US economy as extreme weather brings flooding, droughts and other disasters to every region in the country, a federal advisory committee has concluded.
The congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, produced by more than 300 experts overseen by a panel of 60 scientists, concludes that the nation has already suffered billions of dollars in damages from severe weather-related disruptions, which it says will continue to get worse.
The document, considered the most comprehensive analysis of the effects of climate change on the US, is to be released by the climate advisory panel after a final vote Tuesday morning. President Barack Obama is planning to promote it in a series of events this week calling for action to combat the trend, and using the report to bring public attention to climate change-related problems.
"The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids," the White House said.
The report, by the Federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, details the effects of climate change on every state in the country and every sector of the economy, from rapidly receding ice in Alaska to heat waves and coastal flooding in the Northeast. Rising seas in the South put major cities such as Miami at risk, it says.
The report says it isn't too late to implement policies to reduce the carbon emissions that cause greenhouse gases, and calls on governments at all levels to find ways to lower emissions, particularly from energy production. The report also emphasises adaptation -- the notion that society needs to find ways to prepare for and adjust to some of the changes.
The report pins much of the increase in climate change on human behaviour and resource usage patterns designed to highlight problems even at the community level. Superstorm Sandy which destroyed much of northern New Jersey's beaches in 2012, and the heat wave in the Midwest are among examples the administration will use this week to try to raise concerns among average Americans about climate change.
"Every American will find things that matter to them in this report," said one of the lead authors, Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois.
The last climate assessment, released in 2009, said generally that climate change is affecting the country. The new report, Mr Wuebbles said, shows how further shifts in each area could hurt sectors of the economy such as transportation or force local populations to move.
The White House campaign to publicise the report will include eight television meteorologists. Americans feel "comfortable" with local weather reporters, who can discuss climate change warnings without being politicised, said an administration official.