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White House climate change report makes alarming predictions

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Flooded rail lines. Bigger, more frequent droughts. A rash of wildfires.

Those are some of the alarming predictions in a White House climate change report released Tuesday, part of President Barack Obama’s broader second-term effort to help the nation prepare for the effects of higher temperatures, rising sea levels and more erratic weather.

“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the National Climate Assessment says, adding that the evidence of man-made climate change “continues to strengthen” and that “impacts are increasing across the country.”

“Americans are noticing changes all around them,” the report says, echoing a draft version from last year. “Summers are longer and hotter. … Rain comes in heavier downpours.”

In a statement released to coincide with the report’s publication, the White House called for a rapid response.

“The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids,” the White House said.

Obama and his administration have long said that climate change is already affecting communities.

More than 300 experts helped produce the report over several years, updating a previous assessment published in 2009.

The President will help mark the release of the new National Climate Assessment by speaking with meteorologists about the report’s findings, which his counselor John Podesta said Monday would offer “a huge amount of practical, usable knowledge” for communities as they cope with risks like longer dry spells and increased risk for wildfires.

“It begins to take the climate discussion down to a regional level, so it breaks the country apart, anticipates what’s going to happen in each region,” Podesta said. “That kind of information will help communities plan.”

The report breaks the country down by region and identifies specific threats should climate change continue.

In the densely populated Northeast, flooded rail lines and other infrastructure are named as a concern if sea levels rise. The Great Plains could experience heavier droughts and heat waves with increasing frequency. And more wildfires in the West could threaten agriculture and residential communities.

The weeklong focus on climate change continues Wednesday, when the White House convenes a summit focused on green building tactics. Later in the week, Obama will announce new solar power initiatives, Podesta said.

Obama has pledged to renew his efforts on climate change during his second term, including using executive actions that bypass Congress. He’s introduced new regulations on truck emissions and created “climate hubs” that help businesses prepare for the effects of climate change.

Obama and his administration are also approaching a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental groups say the project would contribute to climate change since it wouldn’t help reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Podesta, who advocated against approving the pipeline before he joined the Obama administration last year, has recused himself from internal discussions on the matter and has declined to answer questions about the project.

But Podesta did say that the recent energy boom in the United States — powered by increased extractions of oil and natural gas through a controversial process known as fracking — could reduce American dependence on fossil fuels.

“We think it’s a practical and viable way to reduce emissions in the short run,” Podesta said. “Obviously, there are environmental issues around the production of gas and oil. But, again, in the administration’s view, those can be — those can be dealt with through the proper application of the best practices to produce that oil and gas.”

CNN’s Kevin Liptak reported from Washington, and CNN’s Jethro Mullen reported from London.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • pupc

    Hopewell plants been pumping out their stuff for decades; with all the Government’s Agencies, inactive …Doing Nothing!
    Styrofoam never stopped; never goes away.
    PC targets solely what benefits PC in one way or another, usually
    covert agendas with enrichments..

  • John Gurrin

    I don’t understand why the governments don’t use Zero Point Free Energy lie Tesla invented. Go google. We dont have to use oil or franking and create more earth quakes. Its all so stupid.

  • Hang 10

    We are an environmental mess. The continue to move along with more fossil fuels, never putting into place a plan to get away from that over a long period of time.
    Same with nuclear energy, all that waste being stored. What happens in 50 years? 100?
    Meanwhile severe weather patterns, rising seas, melting polar ice, etc.

  • Dumb Dom Recchia (@DumbDomRecchia)

    For all you climate change religion believers and those who lack an education in science, here are the basic tenets of all valid scientific discovery, otherwise known as the Scientific Method. As you can see, the failure of climate change models to correctly predict future climate change data and events means they are invalid according to the Scientific Method:

    The Scientific Method has four steps

    1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

    2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

    3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

    4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

    If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

  • Dumb Dom Recchia (@DumbDomRecchia)

    According to a comparison of actual satellite and surface temperature
    observations vs. what was predicted by 90 different climate models, 95
    percent of models overestimated actual temperatures. Nothing says
    “Science” like predicting stuff incorrectly over and over and over again. If this were real science, these models would never be wrong. The scientific method demand that such models be accurate in their predictions in order to form the basis of a valid scientific theory. Climate change is nothing but another unproven hypothesis, certainly nothing to form the basis of national policy.

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