National Climate Assessment Report No. 3 – VA Health Impacted
FAIRFAX, Va. - It's still here, and it's still happening faster than it should be, with implications for Virginians' health and the economy. Climate change in the United States is described in the third National Climate Assessment released today, offering data and advice. From altered snowpack levels to new agricultural pests, the effects are being seen and felt now, it says.
Mona Sarfaty, director at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, says the changes affect everyone and can be dangerous to people with respiratory issues.
"With the longer growing season, we have longer exposure to pollen, and with heavier rains and coastal flooding, we get more areas where people are exposed to mold," Sarfaty says.
The assessment comes from a federal advisory committee, the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee at the U.S. Global Change Research Program. It was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, as well as the public.
The report confirms that the average temperature in the U.S. has increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and 80 percent of that increase has happened in the past three decades.
Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a co-author of the report's chapter on human health. She describes how serious climate change can be for people's well-being.
"The health concerns that are really coming out of the evidence that the report brought together are (that) extreme heat and heat waves already are increasing and are going to continue to increase into the future," Knowlton says.
More needs to be done immediately to reduce pollution associated with accelerating climate change, she urges.
The report will be issued at 8 a.m., May 6, at www.globalchange.gov.