A new White House report on climate change speaks to what true believers have heard all along: The planet is in trouble and human consumption of fossil fuels is responsible.
The Obama administration report says that climate change already is being felt in every region of the nation. The Midwest, which includes Missouri, has experienced “extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.” States can expect a decrease in agricultural productivity.
Did anyone notice that the temperature in Kansas City on Tuesday was expected to hit 89 to 90 degrees, a record high. Heaven help us if this foretells what we can expect for the summer. The report says, “Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality and reduced water quality will increase public health risks.”
The Great Plains, which includes Kansas, can expect rising temperatures to increase demand for water and energy. “Climate change will add to both stress and costs,” the report says.
Development is expected to be constrained, natural resources stressed and competition for water will hit a feverish pitch. “New agricultural practices will be needed to cope with changing conditions,” the report notes.
The Northeast can expect continued heat waves, rising sea levels and heavy downpours. “Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised,” the report says. The Southeast can expect extreme heat, rising sea levels and decreased water availability.
In addition to increased heat and an ongoing drought, the Southwest can expect insect outbreaks and increased wildfires. Declining water supplies will continue along with reduced agricultural yields.
To arrest the problems, government, industries and individuals will have to take more steps to reduce greenhouse gases, increase energy efficiency and conservation, and generate more renewable energy sources.