Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

November 9, 2012

The Cato Institute recently released a report that includes details that were missed by the 2009 report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program regarding global climate change. 

  • The earth has experienced two warming periods in the past 160 years: one from 1910 to 1940 and from 1976 to 1998.
  • Warming will likely be at the low end of reports from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at only 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • But, the global average temperature since 1900 has already risen by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Moreover, reducing carbon emission by over 80 percent will have no measurable effect on the global climate.

While the 2009 report stressed that the United States should cut emissions to avoid the devastating impacts of climate change, the Cato Institute found that this is simply not the case. To begin with, any reductions in carbon emissions would not be able to offset the output from industries in emerging countries like China, India and the rest of the developing world.

After including data that had been left out, the report finds that:

  • Climate change will occur in the United States, but the impacts of climate change have little national significance.
  • Water resources will be affected by climate change.
  • Crop and livestock will adapt to climate change and maintain high yields.
  • Sea level rises as a result of warming are easy to adapt to.
  • Life expectancy and wealth are likely to increase.
  • Climate change is a minor overlay on U.S. society.
  • Species and ecosystems will change with or without climate change.
  • Finally, policies to curb emissions have little effect on global temperature.

Source: "Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States," Cato Institute, October 31, 2012.

 

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