Updated: Feb 3, 2019
The Fourth National Climate Change Assessment was released early on Black Friday and completely contradicts President Donald Trump’s assertions that environmental deregulation will help the U.S. economy.
The 1,600-page report, released every four years as mandated by Congress, is a nonpartisan document which was created by 13 federal agencies and 300 scientists utilizing the most recent studies and findings.
Warmer temperatures, rising sea levels and the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters pose a serious threat to the economy, especially industries that depend on natural resources such as agriculture, tourism and fisheries.
The report estimates that “with continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.”
It predicts high economic costs due to heat-related deaths to be around $141 billion, infrastructure damage around $32 billion and sea level rise around $118 billion.
The report was released by the White House on Black Friday, with some scientists accusing the Trump administration of attempting to bury the findings on a holiday to lessen public awareness.
This report directly challenges Trump’s environmental initiatives such as pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, pledging to increase coal production and jobs and attempting to repeal environmental regulations like the Clean Power Plan and fuel economy rules.
The report argues that “transformations in the energy sector—including the displacement of coal by natural gas and increased deployment of renewable energy—along with policy actions at the national, regional, state, and local levels” are necessary actions needed to be taken today, not in the future.
In a recent interview with the president on Monday, he outright stated, “I don’t believe it,” and also said he only read “some” of the report.
One of the biggest themes in the report is that time is running out and action needs to be taken immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stop the warming of the planet.
Allie Nuttall, a junior at Salisbury University, believes that Trump is not doing a good job addressing the immediate threat of climate change by ignoring it.
“He’s suppressing it and denying it, and particularly, Republicans are denying it and think that what he is saying is the truth,” Nuttall said. “But I do also feel like some Republicans don’t believe what Trump is saying and want to fix it because it’s our future. It’s our country, and we need to take a stand.”
Nuttall did not hear about the report when it was released last Friday. It wasn’t until one of her roommates brought it up that she realized the gravity of climate change.
“I think a lot more needs to be done about this issue, and not just a report coming out that many people won’t read,” Nuttall said. “Talking about it lets a lot of people know where these problems stand with Trump, and shows that he doesn’t care about a majority of the population that will be deeply affected by climate change.”
Climate change is proven to unequally impact low-income communities, people of color and women and children. But this report extends the effects of climate change to include the entire country.
In light of this report, Trump’s denial of climate change is impacting the future of our country and is etching closer to being irreversible.
By SOFIA CARRASCO
Featured photo: U.S. Global Change Research Program image.