WH: Climate Change Touches Every Corner of US
    2014-05-07 06:55:21     Reuters TV       Web Editor: Jiang

The Obama administration on Tuesday (May 6) released an updated report on how a changing climate has touched every corner of the country, from oyster growers in Washington State to maple syrup producers in Vermont, and said that urgent action is needed.

In a video released by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama's science advisor Dr. John Holdren called the assessment "the most comprehensive and authoritative account ever" about how climate has been changing in the United States and what can be done.

"The contents confirm that climate change is not a distant threat. It is affecting the American people already. On the whole, summers are longer and hotter with longer periods of extended heat, wildfires start earlier in the spring and continue later into the fall, rain comes down in heavier downpours, people are experiencing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies, and climate disruptions to water resources and agriculture have been increasing," Holdren said.

Holdren said that across the country, communities are affected in different ways, like coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge in the Northeast, and in the Southwest, drought and increased warming which foster wildfires. He said scientists are highly certain the extreme weather is a man-made problem.

"Scientists who study climate change confirm that these phenomena are consistent with the ongoing changes in global climate which we know with very high confidence are being caused mainly by the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gasses released by human activities," Holdren said.

Some environmental and public health groups hailed the report as a possible "game changer" in building support for efforts to address climate change, in part because it makes the outcomes less abstract to many Americans.

Michael Gerrard is a Professor and Director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. He calls the report a "call for action."

"The report also shows that there are things we can actually do to try to head off these adverse effects to the extent that we use less, by way of fossil fuels, are more energy efficient, drive cleaner cars, take number of other steps, it's going to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will ultimately mean we will have fewer, or less intense adverse effects."

The President's Climate Action Plan, which was unveiled in June 2013 and focuses on executive actions Obama can use to rein in polluters, will enter a new phase in June when the EPA proposes new emissions limits for the country's power plants.

"The next big thing that is coming out is a proposed set of regulations on coal fired power plants, which are the largest current source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. There are a lot of other actions coming out to reduce emissions, methane, from various sources, and many other industrial sources. So we're going to see the rollout of a whole series of additional federal regulations as well as actions by many of the states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Gerrard said.

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