A new draft US federal report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation, and NASA notes that the country, the largest emitter of carbon in history, is warming faster than the Earth as a whole, with the continental U.S. 1.3°C (2.5°F) warmer than it was in the 1970s. The planet has warmed 1.1°C or 2°F above preindustrial temperatures.
Millions of people in the U.S. have already had firsthand experience with the impacts of the climate crisis, says the report. More than 3,000 homes and other structures were destroyed by wildfires in California in 2021, and a heatwave across the Pacific Northwest last year killed 229 people. As climate scientists have consistently warned, hurricanes are growing more severe. According to the report. "Many of the harmful impacts that people across the country are already experiencing will worsen as warming increases, and new risks will emerge."
The report warns that "more severe wildfires in California, sea level rise in Florida, and more frequent flooding in Texas are expected to displace millions of people" in the United States.
Four decades ago, disasters costing $1 billion or more took place roughly once every four months, but 20 such events were recorded in 2021, averaging about one every three weeks.
"Compound events—combinations of weather or climate events affecting one location back-to-back or multiple locations at the same time—are already occurring in every region of the country and are projected to become more frequent as the world continues to warm," the draft report reads. "These events have cascading effects through supply chains, food networks, and other interdependent systems that typically cause greater harm than isolated events."