Climate change has already brought warmer winters to the Midwest and rising sea levels—and barring quick intervention, the mainland US could heat up 7 to 11.5 degrees by 2090, says a new report to Congress by federal agencies and universities. The report holds no new research, Time notes, but surveys what’s happened and what’s ahead, reminding us that “if we don't act soon, the consequences are likely to be catastrophic,” writes Bryan Walsh.
A few key points:
- Precipitation is likely to come in “severe downpours” in the North, causing more flooding, while the drought-plagued South gets drier.
- Alaska’s salmon and trout industry could go bust, and New England will likely lose its maple syrup production to Canada.
- Southern areas of Florida and Texas could get more than 160 days of 90-degree-plus weather yearly. Heat waves could mean early deaths for the poor and the young.
- Sea levels could rise 3-4 feet, potentially drowning a large part of Florida.