Under Fire, White House Releases Report About Global Warming

Pressed by a court order, White House releases damning environmental report.

ByABC News
May 29, 2008, 7:19 PM

May 29, 2008— -- Today, the White House finally released an overdue report on the comprehensive impact of global warming on the United States. It is the first such report from the Bush administration since it took office more than seven years ago.

Starting to catch up with the understanding long agreed on by the world's climate scientists, the report says, "It is likely that there has been a substantial human contribution to surface temperature increases in North America."

With recent U.S. wildfires, downpours, drought and smog, the report paints a sobering picture of threats to America's food, water and energy supplies -- stressed in an ever hotter country.

Integrating federal research efforts of many agencies and literally thousands of scientists, it reports that the global climate disruption now under way is already damaging U.S. water resources, agriculture and wildlife and is expected to keep doing so -- often worsening -- for "the next few decades and beyond."

There is no part of the country that escapes some sort of consequence," said Anthony Janetos, director of the Joint Global Change Institute

Temperatures are expected to continue rising by about 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit before the century is out. The report says that in the West grain harvests and vegetable and fruit crops are more likely to fail because of rising temperatures. It also points out that weeds -- of concern both to farmers and those who suffer from pollen allergies -- are growing more rapidly due to elevated levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the air.

"These are consequences for forests in our backyard, for agriculture on which we depend, for the water resources that we depend on, both for agricultural production and household use and manufacturing, that this is the basis of a good quality of life for everybody," Janetos said.

The report projects a likely increase in frequency and severity of heat waves and other extreme weather events, including storms and floods, stating that "cold days and cold nights are very likely to become much less frequent."

It also projects that because of worsening weather and heat the nation's transportation systems face "significant challenges." Coastal and river flooding and landslides are hitting roads, rails and ports, and heat spells buckle or soften roads.