“The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
Their budget in 2014 was $2.5 billion dollars.
They just released a report titled ‘The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: An Assessment.’
In the report they claim that people living in the United States are suffering damaging health impacts due to climate change. However, most of the ‘claims’ about present effects are in the Executive Summary. Most of the sections with detailed findings speak about future effects.
In the Executive Summary they write, “Already in the United States, we have observed climate-related increases in our exposure to elevated temperatures; more frequent, severe, or longer-lasting extreme events; degraded air quality; diseases transmitted through food, water, and disease vectors (such as ticks and mosquitoes); and stresses to our mental health and well-being.”
But in their section titled ‘Temperature-Related Death and Illness’ that changes to “This is expected to lead to an increase in deaths and illness from heat and a potential decrease in deaths from cold…”
Globally, temperatures have rise about 1C since 1880. Different parts of the United States have very different temperature records, with some regions showing at least that much warming and others either no change or even a decrease.
I find it a bit odd that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one of the funders of the USGCRP, didn’t tell them that there is no trend in heatwaves for the U.S.
This is their chart:
The report states, “For example, the reduction in cold-related deaths is projected to be smaller than the increase in heat-related deaths in most regions.” This is contentious. Some serious scientists believe that the reduction in deaths from cold weather will in fact be larger than the increase in heat related deaths.
Stunningly, the IPCC gives for the U.S. the results of a study conducted in 4 hot weather cities including Los Angeles, to bring them to the conclusion that we will suffer more from the heat than the relief that the cold will bring us.
However, the U.S. Center for Disease Control states that “During 2006–2010, about 2,000 U.S. residents died each year from weather-related causes of death.” (About 2.6 million people in the U.S. die every year.) “About 31% of these deaths were attributed to exposure to excessive natural heat, heat stroke, sun stroke, or all; 63% were attributed to exposure to excessive natural cold, hypothermia, or both; and the remaining 6% were attributed to floods, storms, or lightning.”
As with heatwaves, there is no statistical trend on which the report can base their conclusions.
As for other extreme weather events, again they go from bold claims of present effects in the Executive Summary to more modest fears of the future in their section titled ‘Extreme Events.’ “Climate change projections show that there will be continuing increases in the occurrence and severity of some extreme events by the end of the century, while for other extremes the links to climate change are more uncertain.”
I’ll have to leave the rest of the exercise of putting the report into perspective to more patient readers. This appears to be the latest attempt to take scientifically reasonable concerns regarding future impacts of climate change and manhandle them mistakenly into the present tense.
I don’t know if I have lost patience or interest more quickly–but I’m out of both.