On the day after Thanksgiving, the government decided to crush our spirits by reminding everyone that climate change is only getting worse, and will have devastating consequences for our country and beyond.
As CNN reports, the fourth National Climate Assesment outlines what impact climate change could have on our economy, as the U.S. could slose billions of dollars or up to 10 percent of its GDP in less than a century. This comes shortly after Donald Trump tweeted about global warming being a hoax.
The impacts of climate change vary from natural disasters, to declining quality and quantity of crops, to an increase in allergies. “No one's health is immune from climate change, the report concludes. People will be exposed to more foodborne and waterborne diseases,” CNN writes. “Particularly vulnerable to higher temperatures in the summer, children, the elderly, the poor and communities of color will be at a much greater risk for illness and death.”
Increases in viruses like Zika, flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and more are all expected to happen over the next few decades, while dairy, soy, shellfish, and other production is expected to decrease drastically. Natural disasters will also increase, as we've seen with Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Harvey, and the recent wildfires in California. Basically, the federal report reads a lot like an apocalyptic warning, but there are things that can be done.
"If we're going to run this country like a business, it's time to address climate as the threat multiplier we know it is before more lives are lost," Robert Bullard, an environmental scientist at Texas Southern University, told CNN. "In Houston, communities of color have endured back to back major weather events without the acknowledgment from Washington that climate change is the cause. We've known for years that it's true and it's important to our organizing and our local policy efforts that information like this is not only considered, but believed and acted upon."
By cutting down fossil fuel use and emissions, there is some hope to mitigate how severe climate change will impact us, but scientists are now more focused on how we can strengthen infrastructure and communities to deal with the impending damages.
"The findings in the Trump administration's NCA report show how the health and daily lives of Americans are becoming more and more interrupted because of climate change," Beverly Wright, founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and a professor at Dillard University, told CNN. "We challenge the administration to finally begin using this information to rebuild and strengthen the communities in the direct path of the atrocities wrought by the fossil fuel industry and decades of poor policies that have neglected our concerns. The science is undeniable, let's fix it."