Welcome to Hell: Climate Change in the United States

A draft version of the Fourth National Climate Assessment has been leaked to the New York Times. Why? Because scientists were naturally afraid that the Trump administration might just decide to bury it. After all, here’s what it says:

Many lines of evidence demonstrate that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century….The likely range of the human contribution to the global mean temnperature increase over the period 1951-2010 is…0.6ºC to 0.8°C….Significant advances have been made in the attribution of the human influence for individual climate and weather extreme events since NCA3.

And now, because I’m a chart lover, here are a few selected charts from the NCA4 report. First up is projected storm activity if we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Check out the West Coast in 60 or 70 years:

That’s a lot more big storms for Baja California. The rest of the world will be getting a helluva lot stormier too. However, there’s also plain old rain, and outside of the West we’re going to get a lot more of it:

Sea level is also rising. Add that to the increased rain and the increased number of storms, and you get a lot more floods. Note that the increase in flooding is going to happen pretty soon: as early as 2020 in some places and 2030 or 2040 in others.

Out here in California, we’re mostly worried about the opposite of floods. We’ll be getting a lot more wildfires and a lot more drought thanks to the steady decline of the Sierra snow pack:

This doesn’t have to happen, of course. We could, if we wished, do something about it. Unfortunately, our current president doesn’t even believe this stuff, let alone have any desire to stop it from happening. Feeling better yet?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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