Human behavior is more likely to change when the problems are local and visible. Many Americans, for example, are more likely to respond to the climate crisis when Florida undergoes irreversible change rather than climate change in India or Africa. It is easier to understand that parts of Florida will be underwater because of rising seas and massive hurricanes since these events have already begun.
The Fifth National Climate Report was published recently. It is delivered to Congress and the President at intervals that cannot be less than four years apart. It aims to ” analyze the effects of global change on the natural environment.” This includes agriculture, human health, biodiversity, and transportation. The experts who write the report look at the results of these changes between 25 and 100 years into the future. The latest report is the fifth issued.
There is some good news in the report. New technologies have helped slow climate change in some areas. Other technologies have increased the ability to report severe weather in advance. People have begun to understand the severity of weather events both before they occur and during them.. The report also points out that the rate of growth of harmful emissions has slightly declined. However, the rate of this decline is not enough to reverse the harm already done to the environment.
Overall, statistics are still grim. The rise in sea levels in the 20th Century was faster than at any century in the last 3000 years. Global warming in the last 50 years has outpaced that at any time in the last 2000 years.
The report also focuses on drought and rising sea levels:
Development in fire-prone areas and increases in area burned by wildfires have heightened risks of loss of life and property damage in many areas across the US. Coastal communities across the country—home to 123 million people (40% of the total US population)—are exposed to sea level rise, with millions of people at risk of being displaced from their homes by the end of the century.
The 123 million equals over one-third of the US population.
High tide flooding by 2050 will affect much of the California Pacific coast and most of the land along the Gulf of Mexico. The entire state of Florida is endangered, from the Panhandle to the Keys to the Georgia border. The percentage change in annual financial losses due to climate disasters is forecast to be much higher compared to many other parts of the country.
The Fifth National Climate Report notes that “increasing sea level rise in Florida,” wildfires in California, and flooding in Texas are expected to displace millions of people.
Most importantly, of all the states mentioned in the report, Florida is the prime example of the negative effects of climate change in the US.