The 2018 National Climate Assessment
Evidence continues to be alarming
Government scientists from eight departments and five agencies released the National Climate Assessment Report on November 23rd, and the news is not good. These were some of the same organizations that began backing up decades of acquired data on outside servers after the presidential election of 2016 signalled a change in the value of scientific research and conclusions in the coming Administration.
A summary of the report documents the accelerated warming of the atmosphere at rates much faster than that prior to the Industrial Age, citing greenhouse gases as the dominant cause. It also contains a forecast of the effects of climate change across civilization.
Those include rising sea levels, frequent high tide flooding, reduced snowpack, ocean acidification, shifting climate patterns, more heat waves, larger forest fires, and a likely irreversibility of these outcomes.
The only way to slow these trends is to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is current “very high confidence” that the North Pole will be ice-free in late summer by 2040. As of 2016 the area containing perennial sea ice over 4-ft thick had dropped dramatically. This results in less solar reflection and speeds warming.
These eight departments and five agencies of the U.S. Government have contributed to the recent National Climate Assessment and many have altered the way they manage their responsiibilites in anticipation of the ongoing influences of climate change. Among them, the Department of Defense has been quite concerned about all its domestic bases and facilities, along with its 170 military installations overseas.
Another example is the Department of Transportation, which manages the Federal Highway Administration (think Interstate highways) and also the Coast Guard, which is likely to face more rescue assignments related to flooding of terrestrial neighborhoods and cities.
There is an alternative to more fossil fuel combustion if we could only embrace more electric vehicles and geothermal heat pumps to move toward Zero Net Energy buildings. These are both connected to the growing effort to establish Beneficial Electrification, which holds great promise to abandon carbon.