Nearly two dozen federal agencies released reports detailing climate change’s potential for major threats to each department, and how they plan to respond.
President Joe Biden asked 23 agencies to prepare the reports in an executive order in January. He asked them to detail how climate change will reach all covers of our everyday lives.
Each agency released startling climate-adaptation reports and plans. The agencies include departments of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Education and Transportation. Reports provide frank descriptions of how climate change is already affecting the federal government’s work and what threats we will face as global warming continues.
The picture the reports painted is grim. An increase in floods and droughts, pests and disease will deteriorate America’s food supply. Affordable housing continues to become increasingly at risk from both extreme weather and rising sea-levels.
People will be exposed to deadly heat and floods. Severe weather also contributes to anxiety, depression and mental health. Students will continue to be affected by school closings due to climate disasters like wildfires or hurricanes, or potential closings of schools due to damage from climate-cased disasters like flooding. Asphalt roads will degrade as temperatures increase.
Aircrafts will be able to travel only shorter distances and carry less weight due to hotter temperatures. Widespread flight cancellations will occur for extended periods of time from worsening major weather. Climate change was called a “destabilizing force” to even the Department of Defense, who had to evacuate US military bases after climate-related events. Higher temperatures change patterns of disease, putting people, plants and animals at higher illness risks.
Government research into climate change nearly came to a completely halt under previous President Donald Trump, who publicly cast doubt on whether climate change was even real or that people caused it.
These new reports mark one of the first cross-agency looks at climate change since the Obama era.
The agencies’ reports follow multiple recent reports warning about the effects of global warming and what short window the international community has to fix it. The United Nations released a report in August detailing just how incredibly small that window is to dramatically cut fossil fuel emissions, or face what has been labeled as catastrophic consequences.
New research published in academic journal Science recently detailed how children born today will face seven times more extreme weather events than their grandparents. In terms of other climate disasters, children are expected to face twice as many wildfires, twice as many cyclones, three times as many floods of rivers, and four times the crop failure and five times as many droughts. The exponential increase shows the alarming rate in which climate change is changing our future.
Biden is expected to attend the annual U.N. Climate Change Conference, this year COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, taking place early November.