In part two of our series on the climate report Trump tried to bury over Thanksgiving, we look at its arguments for lowering emissions
— The Trump administration published a major report on climate change the day after Thanksgiving. We will explore the key findings each day this week.
Donald Trump doesn’t believe his own government’s major report on climate change – which the administration tried to bury over the Thanksgiving break. It warns that rising temperatures are already harming America and will cause huge damage globally. The Guardian will explore key findings from the report each day this week.
Climate efforts aren’t all or nothing
Limiting greenhouse gases would substantially benefit the US economy and stop thousands of deaths each year, compared with allowing climate pollution to continue to rise through the 21st century.
Reaching a peak for climate pollution mid-century and then beginning a decline would prevent in 2090:
- 48% of the $155bn per year in damages to labor
- 58% of the $141bn per year in lives lost on extremely hot or cold days
- 22% of the $118bn per year in damages to coastal property
- 31% of the $26bn per year in the health consequences from poor air quality
- 59% of the $20bn per year in damages to roads
- 47% of the $8bn per year in inland flooding
The earth would continue to warm even if humans stopped producing greenhouse gases from power plants and cars today. But limiting – if not entirely eliminating – that pollution would substantially reduce risks. Cutting greenhouse gases would provide the biggest benefits in the latter half of this century.
“In the absence of more significant global mitigation efforts, climate change is projected to impose substantial damages on the US economy, human health, and the environment,” the report says. “Under scenarios with high emissions and limited or no adaptation, annual losses in some sectors are estimated to grow to hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century. It is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent.”
Ocean warming, for example, is causing coral bleaching around the world. If greenhouse gases rise through the century, nearly all coral reefs will be surrounded by acidified seawater.
Reaching a peak for man-made greenhouse gas growth by the middle of the century in the US would also avoid up to tens of thousands of deaths per year from extreme temperatures and up to thousands of deaths per year from poor air quality.
by Emily Holden | The Guardian