June 16th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
5 years ago

White House report warns of climate change effects

A new report from the Obama administration says man-made climate change is a threat to human health.
A new report from the Obama administration says man-made climate change is a threat to human health.

(CNN) – Man-made climate change threatens to stress water resources, challenge crops and livestock, raise sea levels, and adversely affect human health, according to a strongly-worded report from the Obama administration released Tuesday.

The nearly 200-page document on global climate change - released by the White House science adviser and mandated by Congress - does not include new research, but encompasses several recent studies on the effects of global warming over the last half century.

Among the report's key findings are an "unequivocal and primarily human-induced" rise in the earth's temperate of 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 50 years, and a projection of more rapidly changing temperatures over the next several decades.

The continuing temperature rise is likely to spur a series of negative consequences for the Earth's energy supply, water, transportation, ecosystems and health, the report also states.

"[The report] tells us why remedial action is needed sooner rather than later, as well as showing why that action must include both global emissions reductions to reduce the extent of climate change and local adaptation measures to reduce the damage from the changes that are no longer avoidable," said John P. Holdren, the White House science adviser.

Among the report's specific predictions are longer and more intense heat waves, increased heavy downpours likely to cause widespread complications such as flooding and waterborne diseases, rising water temperatures, and an increase in wildfires and insect infestations.

The report comes as Congress debates a White House-backed climate change bill that seeks to reduce the United State's greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a so-called "cap and trade" program.

The bill cleared a key House committee vote last month and could be considered by the entire chamber within the next two weeks, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.

The bill's future remains unclear in the Senate, where leaders are holding off advancing their own version of the legislation until it clears the lower chamber.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Michael

    I cringe every time I read something along the lines of, "The planet has gone through changes in the past and climate change is just natural, blah, blah, blah."

    Climate changes in the absence of catastrophic events such as super volcanoes and the like take place over hundreds or thousands of years.

    What we are seeing now is significant change occuring over a period of less than 50 years and statistically tied to climbing CO2 levels caused primarily to the burning of fossil fuels which releases carbon that has been sequestered for millions of years.

    Time for all of us to get with the program lest we leave a giant mess for our children and grandchildren.

    June 16, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. sifto77

    Richard–
    arkansas–nice try–to smear Palin–google Alaska/Russia–Russia is clearly visible from Alaska–which is what Palin said. Tina Fey is the only one who can see Russia from Palin's porch–get your little liberal facts straight BEFORE to attempt to smear and lie.

    June 16, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Paula

    OH no.... BO will tell us the sky is falling and we need to act swiftly, quickly and boldly, in other words spend, spend spend, take away liberty, take away liberty, curb freedoms, curb freedoms all in the name of our savior telling us it is so.

    June 16, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. sifto77

    Jack–thanks for your insight and truth–seldom seen on CNN. Al Gore has made millions on his half-truths–to finance his carbon footprint private jet and 24 hour lights on in his 10,000 sq foot house–all you working fools are subsidizing Gore–feel good about it? Coldest winter in 40 years just finished up–polar icecaps are increasing! thank goodness–maybe I can have my gasoline car back!

    June 16, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Cassandra Washington

    I think most of this global warming information is bogus, has no real evidence to support it, and ends up blinding us to the environmental issues that we really need to deal with. I don't need an Al Gore to tell me about science, I need an unbiased, non-political, scientific researcher to do that.

    June 16, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. JS007

    To folks like Nadine, yes, the planet goes through cycles, but natural cycles take MILLIONS of years. Human pollution has caused massive changes in the atmosphere over only about 100 years. Yes, maybe some day thousands of years from now we'd have an ice age or a hot period regardless of human influence, but why cause this to happen 50 years from now? Plus, by reducing emissions we improve air quality. Even conservatives breathe air, no?

    June 16, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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