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Climate change in our back yards - New report shows how climate change is affecting the US

19 June 2009 - For the past few years Americans have been dealing with erratic and often extreme weather conditions. And now according to a new report titled Global Change Impacts in the United States, there is evidence that these patterns are attributable to global warming.

Average temperatures in the US have risen by1.5F (-17C) over the last 50 years, according to the report. It also warns that physical infrastructure on the US Gulf Coast could be threatened with storm surges and sea level rises of up to eight inches.

The 200-page US study released on Tuesday is written in simple, non-technical language and was announced by two members of Obama's 'green team', Science Advisor, John Holdren, and the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco.

"I really believe this report is a game changer. I think that much of the foot-dragging in addressing climate change is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road in the future and it affects only remote parts of the world," she told a press conference on Tuesday. "This report says climate change is happening now. It is happening in our own back yard."

Lubchenco's statements lend a sense of urgency to the US ratification of a decisive climate deal in Copenhagen in December, at the COP15 Climate Change conference.

Significantly, the report states that climate change cannot be viewed in isolation and is part of a global trend of warming.

Indeed, UNEP'S 2009 Year book warns that "climate feedback systems and environmental cumulative effects are building across Earth systems, demonstrating behaviours we cannot anticipate."

The UNEP Year Book also states that "the potential for runaway greenhouse warming is real and has never been more clear".

The US Climate Change report is one of several recent calls for urgent action against global warming.

In a statement earlier this week, the head of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) urged Asia-Pacific countries to draw long-term solutions and invest more in green technology to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

Meanwhile, reacting to the UK Climate Projections 2009 report (UKCP09) launched on Thursday, UK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, "these projections show us the future we need to avoid, and the future we need to plan for."




Further Resources

UNEP 2009 Yearbook

UNEP/GRID-Arendal:Climate in Peril


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