US National Climate Assessment Finally Released — Scientists: Effects Will Be Deadly, Bush spokesperson: Don’t Worry, Be Happy
In response to a court order obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Bush administration today issued the first-ever national overview of global warming’s likely impacts on human health, ecosystems, and the economy. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, who chaired the group of scientists that reviewed the report, told the Associated Press, “It basically says the America we’ve known we can no longer count on. It’s a pretty dramatic picture of all kinds of change rippling through natural systems across the country. And all of that has implications for people.”
Curiously, White House associate science director Sharon Hays refused to characterize the report as bad news. But hmm — this is how the Associated Press summarized the report’s predictions:
• Increased heat deaths and deaths from climate-worsened smog. In Los Angeles alone, yearly heat fatalities could increase by more than 1,000 by 2080, and the Midwest and Northeast are most vulnerable to increased heat deaths.
• Worsening water shortages for agriculture and urban users. From California to New York, lack of water will be an issue.
• A need for billions of dollars in more power plants (one major cause of global warming gases) to cool a hotter country. The report says that summer cooling will cause Seattle’s energy consumption to increase by 146 percent with the warming that could come by the end of the century.
• More death and damage from wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters and extreme weather. In the last three decades, wildfire season in the West has lengthened by 78 days.
• Increased insect infestations and food- and waterborne microbes and diseases. Insect and pathogen outbreaks to the forests are even now causing $1.5 billion in annual losses.
Not what we think of as good news.