Dan Shugar

Shug Speaks

US Climate Change Report Concludes Increasing Temperatures “Extremely Likely” Caused by Human Activity

August 13, 2017

Photo Courtesy of the United Nations

Friends — A final draft by the best and brightest of our remaining US government climate scientists has determined that global warming is happening and “extremely likely” to be caused by human activity. 

The report, U.S. Global Change Research Program: Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) was authored by thirteen federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, NOAA Earth System Research Lab and NASA. The final draft of the report was issued in Jan, and was only recently published by the New York Times here.

It appears to me that this flew under the radar of Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which unlike many other U.S. government agencies, has actually been getting things done — unfortunately, the wrong things like deleting valuable pollution data from the EPA website and undermining protections of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

I will be very pleasantly surprised if this report, which is to be issued by Aug 18th, survives in its current form. Other alarming findings within the report include that last year was the hottest on record, recent decades have been hottest in 1,500 years, and that it is possible to attribute some of the extreme weather we have experienced directly to climate change. The study examined every corner of the USA and determined that Americans across the entire country are feeling the effects of climate change right now. Another 5-7.5 degrees Fahrenheit is predicted by late century, depending on levels of future emissions.

Frighteningly, the report notes that the temperature at the poles is rising twice as fast as global averages. In case you missed it, a chunk of ice big enough to cover the US in a 4.5″ thick layer broke off Antarctica last month. If glaciers and the floating ice shelves that rim them continue breaking into pieces and melting, they could eventually raise sea level by tens of feet, with potentially catastrophic implications for human civilization. (National Geographic)

Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier alone have seen a rapid increase in the number of calving and contribute about 5-10% of global sea-level rise, which can eventually endanger low-lying areas like Florida. (John Sonntag, NASA Goddard Scientist)

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Prior, National Geographic.

I believe it is critical to get the best data, share it widely, and debate the severity of these issues as well as the best methods to solve it. Together, we can solve almost anything if we have the intention to. 

Please reach out to EPA leadership and encourage them to do the right thing and issue report per the scientific consensus that has already been achieved, instead of twisting it to a political agenda.

Connect with me on LinkedIn here and join the greater conversation on fighting climate change.