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?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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