By Christian Smith
If you didn't find this weekend's dramatic climate report unsettling, read it again.
Andrew Light, distinguished senior fellow at the World Resources Institute and co-author of the report, said on Cheddar Monday that the effects of climate change are imminent ー unless the federal government acts now.
"It is threatening almost every sector of the economy ー of course more so those sectors that are dependent on natural resources," Light said.
"We should start moving with the most effective and efficient policies that can begin switching our energy sources in earnest from fossil-fuel based to non-fossil fuel based, and also begin to lead the entire country on measures towards adaptation and resilience."
The Trump administration released its dire findings on the Friday after Thanksgiving, timing many have called suspicious ー among them, Politico reporter Matt Daily, who thinks officials meant to bury the news on a holiday weekend.
"I don't know if burying it on Black Friday was a very successful tactic," Daily told Cheddar, noting that the attempt to downplay the news only handed environmental advocates a new line of criticism against the administration.
The National Climate Assessment, which is required by federal law to be published every four years, found that climate change will cost the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century and will endanger thousands of American lives each year. The White House issued a statement saying that the report, which was instituted under the Obama administration, was "largely based on the most extreme scenario” of global warming.
"That's a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly," Daily said. "The report offers quite a wide range of what's possibly coming our way by the end of the century."
Light noted that some states and cities were already moving in the right direction ー but he added the federal government needs to take the lead.
"The U.S. federal government is not leading even though we are seeing states and cities do quite a lot," Light said.