US climate report warns of worsening disasters

A new report has warned climate change could bring widespread hardship to the United States if nothing is done to stop it. President Donald Trump has downplayed the threat amid freezing temperatures this week.

Climate change will wreak havoc on the natural environment, economy and public health in the United States unless more is done to drastically reduce carbon emissions, a US government report has warned.

"Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century," the Fourth National Climate Assessment said Friday.

Nature and Environment | 08.11.2018

Read more: Should there be a 'meat tax' to fight climate change?

The report, mandated by Congress, includes assessments by 13 federal agencies. It details how rising temperatures threaten to lower agricultural yields, increase the likelihood of flooding and wildfires, impede energy production and increase the prevalence of tropical diseases across the country.

Government action now could nevertheless mitigate the most extreme impacts, it said.

Nature and Environment | 05.12.2018
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DW News | 08.10.2018

Climate change alarm sounds ever louder

Presidential denial

The report contradicts the views of US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly denied climate change as a Chinese hoax. In 2017, the president withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord, an international effort to fight a rise in global temperatures.

On Friday, Trump wrote on Twitter: "Whatever happened to Global Warming?" in response to freezing temperatures in some parts of the country.

'Climate change is real'

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters played down the report's findings on Friday. She said it outlined an "extreme scenario" that wrongly assumed a dearth of technological innovation and rapid population growth in the near future.

Environmental groups have welcomed the report. Abigail Dillen, head of Earthjustice, told the Reuters news agency the report underlined that "climate change is real, it's happening here and it's happening now."

Read more: Climate change reduces male fertility, could help drive extinction

The European Environment Agency has predicted similar effects of global warming in Europe.

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An agency report from 2017 said rising temperatures threatened massive economic disruption and an increase in the prevalence of droughts, wildfires and flooding across the continent.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 10: Upgrade lightbulbs

You just bought a fancy lamp? Make it cooler with efficient lightbulbs. This is one of the small actions that make a difference in the long-term - and let's be honest, it's not a big effort. Some LED bulbs consume up to 90 percent less than traditional ones.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 9: Hang laundry to dry

In cold or rainy countries, the task might be challenging - but these challenges are nothing compared to the worst consequences of climate change.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 8: Recycling

Recycling has become normal behavior for thousands of people around the world. It definitely contributes to making a better world - but unfortunately, it is not enough.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 7: Wash clothes on cold

Worried about your clothes shrinking in hot water? Here another reason to keep washing with cold water: Since it avoids turning on the water heater, cold-water washing also produces less greenhouse gas emissions.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 6: Drive a hybrid

Until you are ready to get rid of your car completely, you could move to a hybrid electric car. But beware: The electricity that powers it is probably still coming from dirty fossil fuels.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 5: Switch to a vegetarian diet

Beef production is the largest driver of tropical deforestation worldwide, with soy production closely following - mainly to feed animals. The carbon footprint of a meat-based diet is almost double that of a vegetarian one. Even reducing the amount of meat you eat makes a difference.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 4: Buy green energy

Renewable energies are the new trend - but we are still largely dependent on fossil fuels such as coal. In countries like Germany, you can choose your energy provider - among some that draw from renewable sources.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 3: Cancel one trans-Atlantic flight

Air travel is a major challenge when it comes to tackling climate change. Policy-makers are exploring ways to reduce the climate impact of flights - but in the meantime, you can start thinking twice before taking a plane. Particularly to cross the pond.

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 2: Don't use a car

Getting rid of your car is the second-most effective action you can take to tackle climate change. And riding your bike also helps keep you fit!

How to stop climate change? Start now!

Number 1: Have one less child

Giving birth to a new person consuming and polluting at the current rate of people in industrialized countries is the worst thing you can do for the planet, according to the study. But if you start now with the other nine actions, your kids might be able to live in a better world.

amp/cmk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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