EPA's First Climate Update Since 2016 Is Dire

'Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close with increasing regularity'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2021 8:43 AM CDT
EPA's First Climate Data Update Since 2016 Isn't Pretty
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan attends a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The EPA's website dedicated to climate change indicators wasn't updated once under the Trump administration. Now, it's been given a facelift—and a disturbing one at that. The US is in unprecedented territory with the effects of climate change intensifying even since 2016, according to the assessment, which finds summer heat waves in large US cities are occurring six times a year on average, up from two in the 1960s. To stay cool, Americans have "nearly doubled summer energy use over the past half-century and added even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," per the Washington Post. Wildfire and pollen seasons have been extended, while coastal flooding is occurring more often in all 33 areas of study on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts. In many spots, floods are "at least five times more common than they were in the 1950s," the EPA says, per the New York Times.

No area is unaffected, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Wednesday. "Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close with increasing regularity." He added "climate facts are back on EPA's website where they should be," per Axios. The 54 climate change indicators "paint a grim picture," per the Times. Surface temperatures across the lower 48 states have increased by as much as half a degree per decade since the 1970s. Alaska has seen a more pronounced increase, while losing year-round permafrost. In 2020, when ocean temperatures hit a record, Arctic ice cover was the second-smallest on record. The data "suggests disastrous times ahead if the United States and other industrialized nations do not act quickly on global warming," per the Post. (The Biden administration, which rejoined the Paris climate accord, has vowed to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.)

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