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Bush Administration: global warming is real and a threat to the U.S. economy

Bush Administration: global warming is real and a threat to the U.S. economy

Bush Administration: global warming is real and a threat to the U.S. economy
May 30, 2008

The Bush Administration today released a court-ordered assessment on climate. The report — titled “Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States” — says human-driven climate change will damage ecosystems and pose challenges to key sectors of the U.S. economy including agriculture and energy.

Based largely on recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Scientific Assessment says that climate change is “very likely” due to human activities — a conclusion seemingly at odds with the administration’s long-standing position on the issue.

“[M]ost of the recent global warming is very likely due to human generated increases in greenhouse gas concentrations,” the report states. “[E]missions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use and from the effects of land use change are the primary sources of this increase.”

The report cites a number of trends to support the contention that Earth is warming including increases in temperature extremes, decreases in Arctic sea ice extent, and changes in patterns of sea level pressure and winds. The report suggests that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases has contributed to an increase in Atlantic hurricanes:

The report goes on to state that rising temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations will initially be beneficial to grains and oilseeds before becoming a detriment due to increasing incidence of drought, extreme temperature events, and pest invasions. Western states will face higher incidence of drought, forest fires, and heat waves. Rising sea levels will threaten to swamp low-lying lands and worsen coastal erosion, while increasing ocean acidity due to increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will pose a threat to marine ecosystems and fisheries. Both livestock and human populations can expect to see higher incidence of disease due to warmer conditions. Higher temperatures and diminished precipitation in parts of the United States will reduce hydroelectric capacity while at the same time creating greater demand for energy:

Court ordered report

The new report comes after the Bush administration was ordered last August by Federal District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong to publish an updated research plan and national assessment on climate change. By law the White House is required to publish such a report every four years, yet until now the current administration had failed to do so since it took office. The previous National Assessment was issued in late 2000 under the Clinton administration.

Bush Administration efforts to stall the report were brought to national attention in April 2005 when, at the request of Senators John Kerry and John McCain, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the Bush administration’s failure to produce a 2004 National Assessment. The GAO concluded 1) the administration “did not submit a scientific assessment in November 2004, 4 years after the previous assessment, as required by the [Global Change Research] act,” 2) the administration expressly refuses to complete a single National Assessment, and 3) the White House’s piecemeal approach lacks an “explicit plan for… assessing the effects of global change on the eight areas enumerated in the act: the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity.”

Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States

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