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US Global Change Research Program Issues Report on Impacts of Climate Change in US; Details Point to Potential Value of Early, Aggressive Action

17 June 2009

Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now in the US and are expected to increase. Source: USGCRP. Click to enlarge.

Climate change is already having visible impacts in the United States, and the choices we make now will determine the severity of its impacts in the future, according to the final release of the report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States”. A product of the interagency US Global Change Research Program, the 190-page report was commissioned in 2007 and completed this spring.

Produced by a consortium of experts from 13 US government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes, many of whom are also involved in the UN IPCC process, the report compiles years of scientific research and incorporates new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments.

It is clear that climate change is happening now. The observed climate changes we report are not opinions to be debated, they are facts to be dealt with...This is a dynamic process. We know it is moving rapidly, the sooner we act, the better.

—Dr. Jerry Melillo, Director of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass, a lead author of the report

The report, which confirms previous evidence that global temperature increases in recent decades have been primarily human-induced, incorporates the latest information on rising temperatures and sea levels; increases in extreme weather events; and other climate-related phenomena. Adding to its practical value in the realm of policy and planning, it is the first such report in almost a decade to break out those impacts by US region and economic sector, and the first to do so in such great detail.

This report demonstrates, provides the concrete scientific information, that climate change is happening now, happening in our own backyard, affecting the kinds of things that people care about. This is science that will inform policymaking—it doesn’t dictate any particular solution.

—Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator

The report is not intended to direct policy makers to take any one approach over another to mitigate climate change or adapt to it. But it emphasizes that the choices we make now will determine the severity of climate change impacts in the future.

Implementing sizable and sustained reductions in carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible would significantly reduce the pace and the overall amount of climate change and would be more effective than reductions of the same size initiated later.

—Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Findings. The study finds that Americans are already being affected by climate change through extreme weather, drought and wildfire trends and details how the nation’s transportation, agriculture, health, water and energy sectors will be affected in the future. The study also finds that the current trend in the emission of greenhouse gas pollution is significantly above the worst-case scenario that this and other reports have considered.

Among the key findings are:

  1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced. The emissions responsible for human-induced warming come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) with additional contributions from the clearing of forests and agricultural activities.

  2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.

    US average temperature has increased by about 2º F over the past 50 years, which is more than the global average temperature increase. In the next couple of decades, another degree or so of temperature rise is projected.

  3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase. Climate changes are already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health. One example is that warming will be accompanied by decreases in demand for heating energy and increases in demand for cooling energy. The latter will result in significant increases in electricity use and higher peak demand in most regions.

    Another is that energy production and delivery systems are exposed to sea-level rise and extreme weather events in vulnerable regions. Climate change is also likely to affect some renewable energy sources across the nation, such as hydropower production in regions subject to changing patterns of precipitation or snowmelt.

    Sea-level rise and storm surge will increase the risk of major coastal impacts, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, roads, rail lines, and tunnels.

    These impacts are different from region to region and will grow under projected climate change.

  4. Climate change will stress water resources. Water is an issue in every region, but the nature of the potential impacts varies. Drought, related to reduced precipitation, increased evaporation, and increased water loss from plants, is an important issue in many regions, especially in the West. Floods and water quality problems are likely to be amplified by climate change in most regions. Declines in mountain snowpack are important in the West and Alaska where snowpack provides vital natural water storage.

  5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged. Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most adaptable to changes in climate. However, increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production.

  6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge. Sea-level rise and storm surge place many US coastal areas at increasing risk of erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Pacific Islands, and parts of Alaska. Energy and transportation infrastructure and other property in coastal areas are very likely to be adversely affected.

  7. Threats to human health will increase. Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts.

  8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses. Climate change will combine with pollution, population growth, overuse of resources, urbanization, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses to create larger impacts than from any of these factors alone.

  9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems. There are a variety of thresholds in the climate system and ecosystems. These thresholds determine, for example, the presence of sea ice and permafrost, and the survival of species, from fish to insect pests, with implications for society. With further climate change, the crossing of additional thresholds is expected.

  10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today. The amount and rate of future climate change depend primarily on current and future human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases and airborne particles. Responses involve reducing emissions to limit future warming, and adapting to the changes that are unavoidable.


June 17, 2009 in Climate Change, Climate Change Adaptation, Policy | Permalink | Comments (42) | TrackBack (0)


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"Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.>/i> These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers*, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons...

How does a lengthening growing season become a negative?** Longer season = more crops. Add in the marginal increase in CO2 fertilizer = more and more crops. Wow.

* Arctic sea ice 2009 was spot on the thirty year average. Antarctic sea ice, well above normal.

** Lengthening grow seasons include invasive species.

"Details Point to Potential Value of Early, Aggressive Action."

Of course the most important "value" of "aggressive action" is to get laws passed taking more control of people's lives and drastically expanding governent before the vast majority of people come to the realization that the facts sprove that the Globalwarmism religion is a FRAUD. Globalwarmism is about controlling people's lives, BIG Money political transactions, and fat political payoffs to the Globalwarmist worshipers - laughably calling themselves "researchers." It's about $$$$$$$$$$$.

It's ALWAYS an EMERGENCY ("ACK!!!! Give us your money!!!") when corrupt/dishonest people want you do do what they want.... "Or you're going to DIE!!!!!"

This issue is of such importance that the Globalwarmists refuse to allow discussion. LOL!!!

I am neither an AGW proponent or denier. Are we doing damage, yeah most likely, but the glaciers have been melting since the end of the last ice age.

From an observer perspective, the temperatures in the US have gone down in the last two years. In 06 and 07 we were breaking all time highs literally every other day. Our weather guy shot out an interesting fact this morning, we have not broken a daily high temperature in 22 months. That ties a record going back to the 1930's. Just fyi, our all time high temperature for today was set in 1896. We have been well below normal by 7 or 8 degrees, all year. The northern part of the my state got snow last week. You might say, snow in June is not that unusual, and my reply to you would be; I live in Arizona.

More Bovine pasture patty propaganda in support of Obama's Cap & Tax, tax increase.

The Science of the 1990s and 2000s have disproved the hypotheses of the the 1950-1980s,about Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Fact: There has been no Global Warming on any sort, natural or man-made for going on 11 years now. The sea levels have even slowed the slow rising that has been on-going for Centuries. Definitive measurements now show the Oceans are cooling, the Ice cover in the antipodes is greater than any measured in the years since 1979 when the first truly global measurements were made.

Furthermore the effect of doubling of CO2 has been shown to be infinitesimal, and benign at that level.

You know when this was posted I figured I'd be the first to comment and show my support, then I decided; "nah, I'll wait until the trolls take their shots." My thinking was the quality of their ranting would do more to support the campaign than anything I could write. ;^)

Oh, ai vin, seriously. While the "trolls" refute the report with facts and logical arguments, you support the report by calling names! About what was expected.

"with facts and logical arguments?"
They look at reports and endorsements from;
the IPCC
Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Bazil)
Royal Society of Canada
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academié des Sciences (France)
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
Indian National Science Academy
Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
Science Council of Japan
Russian Academy of Sciences
Royal Society (United Kingdom)
National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
Australian Academy of Sciences
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Royal Irish Academy
Academy of Sciences Malaysia
Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
and call it "Globalwarmism religion."

Calling names you said?
I didn't call this report "Bovine pasture patty propaganda" did I?

Yes, please begin your list with the IPCC, which based it’s origins on Mann’s since discredited “hockey-stick”. And note how their conclusions continually change from report to report? Why? Because the GCM’s, upon which ALL of these conclusions are based, are just that – models. Not science, but models. Want to raise the sea level in 100 years? Change a parameter. Want to increase the average global temperature? Change a parameter. To my knowledge, global warming is the only “science” that it’s adherents claim is 100% settled and irrefutable. And yet, it is being refuted every day. Massive historical correlation of climate with sunspot activity. Growing Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice extent. Declining global temperatures since 2001 in the face of rising CO2 levels. Poor siting of temperature measuring stations. Etc., etc., etc.
If the global warming alarmists would keep their eyes and minds open to the evolving science (ie, effects of the AO & PDO) of the global weather system, then maybe we could see increasing clarity. By proclaiming “all is settled, there is no more debate”, you have left the world of science and entered the realm of ideology.

And as far as calling names goes, it usually refers to calling PEOPLE names, not reports. Because no one wants to hurt a poor little report's feelings.....

Hah that's funny eh ai vin, I was scrolling down, wondering when anyone else would chip in and on cue the Big 3 got there first.

Of course the most important "value" of "aggressive action" is to get laws passed taking more control of people's lives

Yes, that's such a horrible thing to work towards -- a future where any person can have access to a good electric car for under $30,000 and be able to charge it by themselves with a rooftop solar panel system, thereby totally removing themselves from the whims of the volatile oil markets..... yes, that's communism if you ask me....

Because the GCM’s, upon which ALL of these conclusions are based, are just that – models. Not science, but models.
Just to point out the obvious -- everything in science is a model.

Where is the "evolving" science you speak of? Can you direct me to a legitimate peer reviewed scientific article which refutes the concerns over AGW? No blogs please.

Sorry, Mark BC, GCC just scrubbed my list of links for you.

"And as far as calling names goes, it usually refers to calling PEOPLE names, not reports. Because no one wants to hurt a poor little report's feelings....."

Minor point: Reports are written by people. If you insult the work you insult the people. Of course this is so obvious you knew that didn't you?, but you choose to ignore it all for the sake of a cheap shot. 'About what was expected.'

I beg you pardon, Ai. Russian Academy of Science long-standing position is that AGW is total scam. See, for example, here:

“When four years ago, then President Vladimir Putin was weighing his options on the Kyoto Protocol the Russian Academy of Sciences strongly advised him to reject it as having “no scientific foundation.” He ignored the advice and sent the Kyoto pact to Parliament for purely political reasons: Moscow traded its approval of the Kyoto Protocol for the European Union’s support for Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organisation.”

There are plenty other sources (mostly, naturally, in Russian).

# Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales and Stories
# Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
# Honore de Balzac, Old Father Goriot
# Samuel Beckett, Molloy, Malone Dies,
# Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron
# Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
# Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
# Albert Camus, The Stranger
# Paul Celan, Poems
# Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Journey to the End of the Night
# Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
# Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
# Anton Chekhov, Thousand and One Nights
# Joseph Conrad, Nostromo
# Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
# Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
# Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
# Alfred Doblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
# Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment;
# George Eliot, Middlemarch
# Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
# Euripides, Medea
# Ovid, Metamorphoses
# Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
# Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Tales
# Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
# George Orwell, 1984

Yes ai_vin, works of fiction are easy to list. However my authors' works will long outlive yours!

Andrey Levin:
Under the terms Kyoto Protocol, CO2 emissions reductions must be made _compared to a 1990 baseline_. The emissions of Russia collapsed during the 1990s, so they are FAR under their targets. In such a position they can sell 'emissions credits' to countries that are having more trouble cutting back.
I don't know their true thinking, but it seems quite credible that the Russian Academy of Science objected, not to the principle of AGW, but to the specific terms of Kyoto, since they were dramatically lenient on Russia and other eastern block countries that underwent economic collapse. If I were advising Putin, I might well have lobbied for more ambitious cuts on the part of the mother country.

The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary
atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are
clarified. By showing that
(a)there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects,
(b)there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet,
(c)the frequently mentioned difference of 33 C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly,
(d)the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e)the assumption of a
radiative balance is unphysical, (f)thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

see whole research paper at:

testing to remove italics

The Gerhard Gerlich paper has been revised and re released since 95 and never in a peer reviewed journal I believe. It has never been accepted and has made zero contribution to scientific discourse on the subject or understanding.

Here is a critique for example from the same archive.

You can try to find support in the circular bin but please at least make it plausible you actually tried to understand it.

To Sulleny,
Arctic sea ice was not on the 30 year average but was well below that approaching the 2007 lows after a slower March/April melt that approached the 30 year average.

As for the Antarctic sea ice, it is of a different quality than the Arctic. It always basically disappears because it not contrained by land.

This is global warming. According to recent records, this may was the 4th hottest global temperature for the last 130 years. Frankly, where I live, yah it was cooler. Big deal. It's called Global Warming.

to a-tex,
The IPCC did not originate with Mann's hockeystick. It used it because it was one of the few scientifically checkable ways to evaluate temperatures.

Other methodologies have be used for the temperature surrogates for follow up studies. Although they do not reproduce Mann's original work, they do justify the overall conclusions of Mann's work as well as dispelling some of the claims the denialists keep using especially about the medieval warm period.

Here's an easy to find overlap of the majority of them.

"Growing arctic and antarctic ice..."
No. According to NSDIC the ratio of Arctic ice loss to Antarctic sea ice gain in in the order of 5 to 1. That and the fact that the average ice thickness in the arctic is twice the thickness in the antarctic belies that claim.

Poor citing of temperature stations was disproved quite a while ago with satellite data. Orginally it showed no temperature rise, which the denialists loved but it didn't jib with other data. On further examination, it was discovered that the satellite data was losing calibration because the satellites' orbits were decaying and that wasn't being taking into consideration in the calculations.

Unless the PDO or AO actually changes the physics and helps radiate IF radiation into space or blocks energy from getting in, it is in effect a distribution mechanism only.

If the denialists actually would look into their arguements and see that follow up has answered many of their objections maybe but instead the denialists look forever afield for justification for their static world views which frankly, the scientific process has always had to fight.

The news report from 2008 is reporting about something that occured 4 years earler in 2004. And let's be honest, it wasn't against AGW but the proposel to do something about it. The position pre 2004 was a skeptical one. And let's be realistic, probably still has skeptics especially since it is more integrated to the Russian state which is probably more interested in economic exploitation of its resources and hence more biased towards that view.

But in the intervening years, the science establishments views have gotten more pro-AGW than before.

For example "WORLD SCIENTISTS' WARNING TO HUMANITY", from I believe 97-98. How skeptical could the Russian Science Academy be.

signed off by the vice chaimans of the russian science academies.

or the joint science academies statement on the global response to climate change, circa 2005

notice the signature on the bottom there.

You found a news article but it does not represent the present situation or the present viewpoint of the Russian Academies of Science.

Here's a newer posting on the need to respond to climate change with the R.Acad.o.S. signing off on it.

The National Acadamies site is full of PDF's on AGW climate change. Try reading them instead of the rantings of the denialists or maybe get some real answeres. And yes, I've been to the denialists sites. Citations that were wrong and faintly disguished ideology don't make science.


The problem is that Presidium of Russian Academy of Science never voted support (because most of members are strictly again) to Kyoto Protocol, or approval for IPCC policy. President of Russian Academy of Science put his signature in support of IPCC line and generally AGW movement in a breach of RAS charter, purely because of political pressure from Putin and Medvedev. Time will tell full story of this sham.

BTW, for 2009 Arctic sea ice extend is close to 30-year average, and Antarctic sea ice extend is at all-time (same 30 years of satellite monitoring) high.

To A. Levin,

The only place I've seen any hint of trouble of the RAoS in repect to AGW is in the past (ie. Putan and Kyoto which may not represent belief in AGW) or some sort of implication that somehow the Russian Academy is somehow not respresenting the overall beliefs of the scientists involved. And the only place that this occurs is in the some assurtations of denialists blogs. I find that less than satifactory evidence that the RAoS is being hijacked by polical interests. The fact that both the US and Russian Academies signed on AGW at the same time especially with Bush and his anti-AGW stance in power shows apolitical moves to viewpoints contrary to the short term economic interests of both large countries.

As far as I can tell, the RAoS and the Russian scientific community in general, presently today supports the conclusions AGW.

Looking at the Research Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Cooperation (INENCO) of Russian Academy of Sciences.

We can look at the some of the studies. They don't look anti AGW in any way and seem fairly mainstream.

As for the ice data - arctic.

It is definitely skirting the 2007 lows, not close to the 20-year average and at least at one point in June was close to or lower than the 2007 low for the same period. It looks close to a million square km lower than the 20 year average. Most likely it will be another low year for arctic ice but not a record unless arctic storms hit.

As for the ice data - antarctic.

As can be seen, the antarctic sea ice extent is not greater than last years and seems to be constrained by an average maximun. As NSDIC puts it "the data comparison shows the lack of a substantial change in Southern Hemisphere sea ice". Of interesting note is this years minimum was close to the 20 year average minimum. If last year was a record breaker, it really can't be seen from the graph.

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