From droughts in the West and bitterly cold winters in the East to deluges that brought devastating floods to Nashville in 2010 and the Florida Panhandle last week, climate change is real, and its human-induced effects are being felt all over the United States.
That may have seemed obvious to those of us who worry about the earth’s health every time we see fresh disaster porn spun from the latest weather-related crisis, but scientists are typically hesitant to link specific weather problems to climate change. Now those links are becoming clearer than ever—particularly when it comes to torrential rains and heavy snow.
The National Climate Assessment, a new report produced by a large panel of the nation’s scientists and experts (including representatives from two oil companies), received final approval Tuesday before being unveiled at the White House, The New York Times reported.
The report found that the eastern half of the country is getting more rain and snow, and heavy-rain events have jumped by 71 percent in the Northeast. With warming oceans, more water is evaporating into a warmer atmosphere that can hold excess precipitation.
The report is a result of a 1990 congressional order to scientifically assess climate change every four years. While the group of scientists were under government oversight, they say there has been no political interference in their work—and their warnings are more dire than those of many politicians.
According to the report, "Climate change presents a major challenge for society. “There is mounting evidence that harm to the nation will increase substantially in the future unless global emissions of heat-trapping gases are greatly reduced.”
The report's nonpartisan nature aside, lines like that will help President Barack Obama push for reforms in his next push for caps on emissions.
In other news...
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- Occupy Wall Street’s Last Conviction: Cecily McMillan’s case wound through the courts for years; she has finally been convicted of assault after a scuffle with authorities left a police officer with a black eye. The 25-year-old faces a maximum sentence of seven years for the injury, despite insisting that she was being groped and threw an elbow reflexively. (via RT)
- Ukraine’s New Peace Corps: Ukraine’s leaders are asking for volunteers to bring calm ahead of elections that are threatened by pro-Russian separatists and violence in eastern Ukraine. (via The Washington Post)
- Too Much Firepower: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says gun control laws need to be tightened because they’ve gone “way out of balance.” (via The Hill)
- The High Price of Cancer: Oncology treatments doubled in price to $10,000 a month in the past decade, a period when the consumer price index went up 23 percent. CBS News examines how the global spending on those treatments reached $91 billion last year; American cancer patients account for about $37.2 billion of that sum.
- Louie’s Many Faces: Everyone’s favorite prince of grumbling disaster comedy is back, and Esquire has helpfully compiled all of Louie C.K.’s faces of anguish. You’re welcome.
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