US Already Affected by Climate Change

President Donald Trump says he doesn't believe a key conclusion of a USA government report on the economic costs of climate change, but economists say the warning of hundreds of billions of dollars a year in global warming costs is pretty much on the money.

Brenda Ekwurzel, one of the report's authors, said there's ample evidence of rising costs from recent western wildfires, droughts and hurricanes.

"You're going to be seeing heavier rainfall, an increase in hot days, a decrease in colder days and you're going to have all the issues with sea level rise", said David Easterling with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversaw the release of the report.

"I've seen it, I've read some of it, and it's fine", he said.

Many major news networks caught wind of the report, and the sneaky Friday news dump was not as quiet as the administration would have liked.

The report noted that new US records for destructive weather have been set in recent years.

The report, which was written before California's recent deadly fires, also says the last few years have smashed records for damaging weather in the USA, costing almost $400 billion since 2015.

"I don't believe it", Trump said of the 1,600-page report by some 300 researchers from 13 federal agencies issued by the White House last week.

The report added that global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor, broadly undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming, to fisheries and energy production.

The Congressionally-mandated report, written with the help of more than a dozen US government agencies and departments, outlined the projected impacts of global warming in every corner of American society, in a dire warning at odds with the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuels agenda. In some places, more intense rain and saltwater intrusion have led to dam failures, bridge and road closures and power outages.

Inglis, who heads a nonprofit, RepublicEn, which aims to transform his party's stance on global warming, said it's been especially hard for Republicans to embrace a solution when Trump is constantly belittling the science behind it.

It's been speculated that the decision to release a damning climate change report on the annual shopping extravaganza of Black Friday was an intentional effort to suppress its findings.

Earlier, the White House had played down the report. "It's very important to me", the president told reporters.

Under President Trump, the United States pulled out of the Paris-Climate agreement, which put America on track to reducing greenhouse gasses by 26% while handing over billions of dollars to the United Nations. "That is why I have made climate change one of my top priorities for the Committee going in to the next Congress". But it said that people must take steps to stop future weather disasters "to avoid substantial damages to the US economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades".

He said the report addresses the United States, but that it should have also looked at China, Japan and all of Asia.

"All the proposals I've seen so far that would address any of these issues would devastate the USA economy and have little or no benefit that is demonstrable from our standpoint", Lee said.

  • Valerie Cook