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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Federal Report: Climate Change Is Disrupting Americans’ Lives

Bryant Hofer harvests a field of corn on October 2, 2013 near Salem, South Dakota. During last year's drought Hofer averaged about 85 bushels of corn per acre. Although he has just started to harvest his fields, this year Bryants corn has averaged 180 bushels-per-acre. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A new federal climate report says corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The new National Climate Assessment, released Tuesday, concludes that the harms of global warming will become more and more disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond.

The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather is changing daily lives, even using the phrase “climate disruption” as another way of saying global warming.

But the 840-page report says it’s not too late to prevent the worst of climate change. The White House is highlighting the science and effects of warming as it tries to jump start often-stalled efforts to curb heat-trapping gases.

Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University who wrote the Northeast chapter of the report, discusses report’s findings with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

The introduction to the report reads:

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience. So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York, and Native Peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska. This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.

The National Climate Assessment comes out every four years; this is the third report.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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