The latest National Climate Assessment was recently released, a congressionally mandated review detailing the impacts of climate change in America. Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences director Robert Kopp says its fundamental message is to stabilize the climate by bringing greenhouse gas emissions down to zero, and then mitigate the impacts being experienced now.
“Dealing with the effects of sea level rise for which there is no cookie cutter answer really depends on context,” Kopp said. “Dealing with the effect of advanced heat waves on human health, which really has to do with public health measures.”
Kopp says the report details other health risks attributed to climate change.
“Changes in air quality, no more ozone, changes in pollen season and changes in diseases carried by insects like ticks.”
The report suggests Lyme Disease, linked to late spring and early summer moisture, is projected to increase because climate change has made regional rainfall more intense. Warmer winters in the Northeast have contributed to the spread of tree pests and reduced seasonal growth of native trees.
“Early budding and hard freezes are not good for fruit crops," Kopp said. "The report also mentions that there’s a trend towards heavy rainfall happening before the last frost which can leave fields soggy and prevent farmers from taking advantage of the early spring.”