Climate report paints bleak picture about global warming effects

Some fossil energy groups, conservative think tanks and Republican senators immediately attacked the 840-page report, which the White House is highlighting as it tries to jump-start efforts to curb heat-trapping gases.

The conclusions of the latest report are sobering. Overall, scientists find the past 10 years have been the warmest decade since records have been kept.

And temperatures are projected to rise another two to four degrees Fahrenheit in most areas of the United States over the next few decades.

"Hundreds of the best climate scientists from across the U.S., not just in the public sector but in the private sector as well, have worked over the last four years to produce this report," counselor to the president John Podesta said.

California is part of the hottest and driest region in the U.S. and the report says the southwest will only get hotter and drier.

It predicts more severe droughts, more wildfires and potentially a hit to tourism.

Scientists say reduced stream flow and a shorter snow season would influence everything from the ski industry to lake and river recreation.

That's in addition to less water for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems.

The report also finds climate change is hazardous to your health, increasing the risks of respiratory stress from poor air quality, heat stress and the spread of food-borne, insect-borne and waterborne diseases.

It sounds dire, but the report also says it's not too late to prevent the worst of it.

The report is the third edition of a congressional mandated study. More than 250 scientists and government officials started writing the report in 2012. A draft was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists and has had public comment.

The National Academy of Science reviewed the report twice and called it "reasonable."

The White House spokesman Tuesday touted President Obama's climate action plan, which was announced last June.

"He has been moving forward on that climate action plan to reduce carbon pollution and for example through the rules on power plants and to make federal lands available for renewable energy production to support innovative and advanced fossil energy," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

On Wednesday, President Obama will be in California and his three-day trip will end with an energy event in San Jose on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.