Climate change could cost United States 'hundreds of billions' a year

Government climate report warns of worsening U.S. disasters, contradicts Trump

Climate change could cost US 'hundreds of billions' a year: study

WASHINGTON As California's catastrophic wildfires recede and people rebuild after two hurricanes, a massive new federal report warns that these types of extreme weather disasters are worsening in the United States.

Unchecked climate change will cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life, a USA government report warns.

The National Climate Assessment was written long before deadly fires tore through California this month and Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the United States' east coast and Florida. It says warming-charged extremes "have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration".

"We are seeing the things we said would be happening, happen now in real life", said another co-author Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

The report also frequently contradicts President Donald Trump's rhetoric on climate change.

Trump past year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Deal agreed by almost 200 nations to combat climate change, arguing the accord would hurt the USA economy and provide little tangible environmental benefit.

The report is mandated by law. Trump has vowed to pull out of the global Paris climate agreement, while seeking to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that climate change is accelerating and caused by human activity.

She also said the climate report "is largely based on the most extreme scenario" and called for future installments to have "more transparent and data-driven process that includes fuller information on the range of potential scenarios and outcomes" - a claim that one of report's lead authors said was "demonstrably false".

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 report said.

The report warns that the frequency of wildfires could increase if climate change is unchecked.

"Earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities", the report reads. The report concluded that warming "could increase by 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century" without significant emissions reductions. "That means we have to focus on us", he said.

Earlier this week Trump mocked climate science, tweeting about cold weather in the Northeast and asking "Whatever happened to Global Warming?"

After taking office he announced the USA would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which commits another 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Study co-author Andrew Light, an global policy expert at the World Resources Institute, told The Associated Press that the release " "is a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying but suppressing the best of climate science". The document was originally scheduled for a mid-December release, but officials said at the last minute they would publish it on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The assessment leaves no doubt that humans are to blame for the changing climate, and that extent of the harm we will experience depends on decisions we make today.

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