Climate change in the United States

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U.S. temperature record from 1950 to 2009 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Climate change in the United States is causing effects in the United States that are widespread and varied. In 2012, the United States experienced its warmest year on record. Different regions experience widely different climatic changes. Changes in climate in the regions of the United States appear significant. For example, drought conditions appear to be worsening in the southwest while improving in the northeast.[1] Generally, states that emit more carbon dioxide per person and block climate action, are suffering more.[2][3] Some research has warned against possible problems due to American climate changes such as the spread of invasive species and possibilities of floods as well as droughts.[4] Climate change is seen as a national security threat to the United States.[5]

Greenhouse gas emissions by the United States are very large compared to most other countries: in terms of both total and per capita emissions, it is among the largest contributors.[6]

As of April 2019, 69% of Americans think that climate change is happening and 55% think that it is mostly human caused.[7] In 2015, The New York Times and several other sources revealed that oil companies knew that burning oil and gas could cause global warming since the 1970s but, nonetheless, funded deniers for years.[8][9] 2016 was a historic year for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in U.S.[10]

Greenhouse gas emissions[edit]

US greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector[11]

  Transportation (28.6%)
  Electricity generation (25.1%)
  Industry (22.9%)
  Agriculture (10.2%)
  Commercial (6.9%)
  Residential (5.8%)
  U.S. territories (0.4%)

The United States produced 6.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019,[12] the second largest in the world after greenhouse gas emissions by China and among the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions per person. In total the USA has emitted 400 billion metric tons, more than any other country.[13] This is over 15 tonnes per person and, amongst the top ten emitters, is the second highest country by greenhouse gas emissions per person after Canada.[14] Because coal-fired power stations are gradually shutting down, in the 2010s emissions from electricity generation fell to second place behind transportation which is now the largest single source.[15] In the year 2018, 28% of the GHG emissions of the United States were from transportation, 27% from electricity, 22% from industry, 12% from commercial and residential buildings and 10% from agriculture.[16][needs update]

Although greenhouse gas emissions by the European Union will be net zero by 2050 and China by 2060, the United States has no target to stop emitting. These greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change in the United States as well as worldwide.

Impact on the natural environment[edit]

Temperature and weather changes[edit]

Human-induced climate change has the potential to alter the prevalence and severity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, cold waves, storms, floods and droughts.[17] A 2012 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirmed that a strong body of evidence links global warming to an increase in heat waves, a rise in episodes of heavy rainfall and other precipitation, and more frequent coastal flooding.[18][19] March 2020 placed second to 2016 for being the second-hottest March on record with an average of 2.09 Fahrenheit (1.16 Celsius) above that of the 20th-century.[20]

According to the American government's Climate Change Science Program, "With continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. The strongest cold season storms are likely to become more frequent, with stronger winds and more extreme wave heights."[21]

In July 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the 12-month period July 2011 to June 2012 was the warmest 12-month period on record in the continental United States, with average temperature 3.23 °F above the average for the 20th century.[22] Earlier it was reported that exceptionally warm months between January and May 2012 had made the 12 month previous to June 2012 the warmest 12-month block since record keeping began,[23] but this record was exceeded by the July 2011 to June 2012 period. NOAA stated that the odds of the July 2011 to June 2012 high temperatures occurring randomly was 1 in 1,594,323.[22]

Current/past Köppen climate classification map for the United States for 1980–2016
Predicted Köppen climate classification map for the United States for 2071–2100

Extreme weather events[edit]

Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has in fact increased due to human-caused warming. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls.

The number and severity of high-cost extreme weather events has increased in the 21st century in the United States. By August 2011 alone, the NOAA had registered nine distinct extreme weather disasters for that year, each totalling $1 billion or more in economic losses. Total losses for 2011 were evaluated as more than $35 billion before Hurricane Irene.[24]

Though the costs and frequency of cyclones have increased on the east coast, it remains unclear whether these effects have been driven primarily by climate change.[25][26] When correcting for this, a comprehensive 2006 article in Geophysical Research Letters found "no significant change in global net tropical cyclone activity" during past decades, a period when considerable warming of ocean water temperatures occurred. However, the study found major regional shifts, including a general rise of activity in the North Atlantic area, including on the U.S. eastern coast.[27]

From 1898 through 1913, there have been 27 cold waves which totalled 58 days. Between 1970 and 1989, there were about 12 such events. From 1989 until January 6, 2014, there were none. The one on the latter date caused consternation because of decreased frequency of such experiences.[28]

Looking at the lack of certainty as to the causes of the 1995 to present increase in Atlantic extreme storm activity, a 2007 article in Nature used proxy records of vertical wind shear and sea surface temperature to create a long-term model. The authors found that "the average frequency of major hurricanes decreased gradually from the 1760s until the early 1990s, reaching anomalously low values during the 1970s and 1980s." As well, they also found that "hurricane activity since 1995 is not unusual compared to other periods of high hurricane activity in the record and thus appears to represent a recovery to normal hurricane activity, rather than a direct response to increasing sea surface temperature." The researches stated that future evaluations of climate change effects should focus on the magnitude of vertical wind shear for answers.[29]

The frequency of tornadoes in the U.S. have increased, and some of this trend takes place due to climatological changes though other factors such as better detection technologies also play large roles. According to a 2003 study in Climate Research, the total tornado hazards resulting in injury, death, or economic loss "shows a steady decline since the 1980s". As well, the authors reported that tornado "deaths and injuries decreased over the past fifty years". They state that addition research must look into regional and temporal variability in the future.[30]

Heat waves[edit]

This graph shows average drought conditions in the contiguous 48 states, according to the EPA, with yearly data going from 1895 to 2011. The curve is a nine-year weighted average.

The general effect of climate changes has been found in the journal Nature Climate Change to have caused increased likelihood of heat waves and extensive downpours.[25] Concerns exist that, as stated by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study in 2003, increasing "heat and humidity, at least partially related to anthropogenic climate change, suggest that a long-term increase in heat-related mortality could occur." However, the report found that, in general, "over the past 35 years, the U.S. populace has become systematically less affected by hot and humid weather conditions" while "mortality during heat stress events has declined despite increasingly stressful weather conditions in many urban and suburban areas." Thus, as stated in the study, "there is no simple association between increased heat wave duration or intensity and higher mortality rates" with current death rates being largely preventable, the NIH deeply urging American public health officials and physicians to inform patients about mitigating heat-related weather and climate effects on their bodies.[31]


In terms of U.S. droughts, a study published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2006 about the U.S. reported, "Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century." It also stated that the "main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West" where "drought duration and severity... have increased."[1]

As shown in the adjacent image, wet and rainy conditions versus moments of drought in the U.S. have varied significantly over the past several decades. Average conditions for the 48 contiguous states flashed into extreme drought in the mid-1930s 'dust bowl' era as well as during the turn of the 20th century. In comparison, the mid-2000s decade and mid-1890s experienced only slight drought and had mitigating rainy periods.[32] The National Drought Mitigation Center has reported that financial assistance from the government alone in the 1930s dry period may have been as high as $1 billion (in 1930s dollars) by the end of the drought.[33]

Weakened polar vortex jet stream[edit]

Climate scientists have hypothesized that the stratospheric polar vortex jet stream will gradually weaken as a result of global warming and thus influence U.S. conditions.[34][35][36] This trend could possibly cause changes in the future such as increasing frost in certain areas. The magazine Scientific American noted in December 2014 that ice cover on the Great Lakes had recently "reached its second-greatest extent on record", showing climate variability.[35] In February 2021 when the United States, officially rejoined the Paris Agreement, John Kerry spoke about it, mentioning the latest extreme cold events in the USA that in his opinion: "related to climate because the polar vortex penetrates further south because of the weakening of the jet stream related to warming." [37] This opinion is shared by many climate scientists.[38]

Sea level rise[edit]

Sea level rise has taken place in the U.S. for decades, going back to the 19th century. As stated in research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, west coast sea levels have increased by an average of 2.1 millimeters annually. In English notation, that equates to 0.083 inches per year and 0.83 inches per decade.[39]

In USA, 40% of the population live near the coast, therefore vulnerable to sea level rise. In almost all the coasts of the USA, except, Alaska the future rise in sea level is expected to be higher than the global average.[40]

Locations in the US with low altitude above sealevel[edit]

Impact on people[edit]

Economic impacts[edit]

An article in Science predicts that the Southern states, such as Texas, Florida, and the Deep South will be economically affected by climate change more severely than northern states, some of which would even gain “moderate benefits”.[41]

Agriculture and food security[edit]

The 2018 the Fourth National Climate Assessment notes that regional economies dominated by agriculture may have additional vulnerabilities from climate change.[42] Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning economist, notes that climate-related disasters in 2017 cost the equivalent of 1.5% of GDP.[43] Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.[44]

A 2012 report in Nature Climate Change stated that there is reason to be concerned that American climate changes could increase food insecurity by reducing grain yields, with the authors noting as well that substantial other facts exist influencing food prices as such as government mandates turning food into fuel and fluctuating transport costs. The researchers concluded that U.S. corn price volatility would moderately increase with American warming with relatively modest rises in food prices assuming that market competition and integration partly mitigated climate affects. They warned that biofuels mandates would, if present, widely increase corn price sensitivity to U.S. warming.[45]

Climate change and agriculture are complexly related processes. In the United States, agriculture is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), behind the energy sector.[46] Direct GHG emissions account for 8.4% of US total emissions, but the loss of soil organic carbon through soil erosion indirectly contributes to emissions as well.[47] While agriculture plays a role in propelling climate change, it is also affected by the direct (increase in temperature, change in rainfall, flooding, drought) and secondary (weed, pest, disease pressure, infrastructure damage) consequences of climate change.[46][48] USDA research indicates that these climatic changes will lead to a decline in yield and nutrient density in key crops, as well as decreased livestock productivity.[49][50] Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to U.S. agriculture due to the sensitivity of agricultural productivity and costs to changing climate conditions.[51] Rural communities dependent on agriculture are particularly vulnerable to climate change threats.[48]

The US Global Change Research Program (2017) identified four key areas of concern in the agriculture sector: reduced productivity, degradation of resources, health challenges for people and livestock, and the adaptive capacity of agriculture communities.[52]

Large-scale adaptation and mitigation of these threats relies on changes in farming policy.[53][54]

Cost of disaster relief[edit]

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reported that in 2020, the U.S. experienced 22 weather and climate-related events costing at least a billion dollars, exceeding the 1980–2019 inflation-adjusted average of 6.6 such events.[55]

Since 1980, the United States has experienced 285 climate and weather related disasters, costing more than $1.875 trillion in total.[56]

In 2013 there were 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses over $1 billion each in the United States. In total these 11 events losses were over $110 billion. 2013 was the warmest year ever in the contiguous United States and about one-third of all Americans experienced 10 days or more of 100-degree heat. According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), 2020 set the new annual record of 22 climate-related disasters, each exceeding losses of $1 billion.[56]

These increasingly common and severe weather events have put pressure on existing disaster-relief efforts. For instance, the increasing rate of wildfires, the increasing length of the fire season, and increasing severity have put pressure on national and international resources. In the US, federal firefighting efforts surpassed $2 billion a year for the first time in 2017, and this expense was repeated in 2018. At the same time, internationally shared capital, such as firefighting planes, has experienced increasing demand, requiring new investment.[57]

Health impacts[edit]

Climate change is expected to pose increased threats to human health.[44]

Impacts on migration[edit]

Climate change increases migration to the United States from Central America.[58]

Mitigation and adaptation[edit]



The state of California enacted the first comprehensive state-level climate action plan with its 2009 "California Climate Adaptation Strategy."[59][60] California's electrical grid has been impacted by the increased fire risks associated with climate change. In the 2019 "red flag" warning about the possibility of wildfires declared in some areas of California, the electricity company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) was required to shut down power to prevent inflammation of trees that touch the electricity lines. Millions were impacted.[61][62]

Within the state of Florida four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach) have created the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact in order to coordinate adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with the impact of climate change on the region.[63] The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued grants to coastal cities and towns for adaptation activities such as fortification against flooding and preventing coastal erosion.[64]

New York State is requiring climate change be taken into account in certain infrastructure permitting, zoning, and open space programs; and is mapping sea level rise along its coast.[65] After Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey accelerated voluntary government buy-back of homes in flood-prone areas. New York City announced in 2013 it planned to spend between $10 and $20 billion on local flood protection, reduction of the heat island effect with reflective and green roofs, flood-hardening of hospitals and public housing, resiliency in food supply, and beach enhancement; rezoned to allow private property owners to move critical features to upper stories; and required electrical utilities to harden infrastructure against flooding.[66][67]

In 2019, a $19.1 billion "disaster relief bill" was approved by the Senate. The bill should help the victims of extreme weather that was partly fueled by climate change.[68]

Policies and legislation[edit]

Federal, state, and local governments have all debated climate change policies, but the resulting laws vary considerably. The U.S. Congress has not adopted a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction scheme, but long-standing environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act have been used by the executive branch and litigants in lawsuits to implement regulations and voluntary agreements.

The federal government has the exclusive power to regulate emissions from motor vehicles, but has granted the state of California a waiver to adopt more stringent regulations. Other states may choose to adopt either the federal or California rules. Individual states retain the power to regulate emissions from electrical generation and industrial sources, and some have done so. Building codes are controlled by state and local governments, and in some cases have been altered to require increased energy efficiency. Governments at all levels have the option of reducing emissions from their own operations such as through improvements to buildings, purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, and reducing waste; and some have done so.

Political opponents to emissions regulations argue that such measures reduce economic activity in the fossil fuel industry (which is a substantial extractive industry in the United States), and impose unwanted costs on drivers, electricity users, and building owners. Some also argue that stringent environmental regulations infringe on individual liberty, and that the environmental impact of economic activity should be driven by the informed choices of consumers. Regulatory proponents argue that the economy is not a zero-sum game, and that individual choices have proven insufficient to prevent damaging and costly levels of global warming. Some states have financed programs to boost employment in green energy industries, such as production of wind turbines. Areas heavily dependent on coal production have not taken such steps and are suffering economic recession due to both competition from now lower-priced natural gas and environmental rules that make generation of electricity from coal disadvantageous due to high emissions of CO2 and other pollutants compared to other fuels.

State and regional policy[edit]

Across the country, regional organizations, states, and cities are achieving real emissions reductions and gaining valuable policy experience as they take action on climate change. According to the report of America's Pledge, 65% of the American population, 51% of the GHG emissions and 68% of the GDP, are now part of different coalitions that support climate action and want to fulfill the commitments of USA in the Paris Agreement. The coalitions include We Are Still In, US Climate Alliance, Climate Mayors and more.[69]

These actions include increasing renewable energy generation, selling agricultural carbon sequestration credits, and encouraging efficient energy use.[70] The U.S. Climate Change Science Program is a joint program of over twenty U.S. cabinet departments and federal agencies, all working together to investigate climate change. In June 2008, a report issued by the program stated that weather would become more extreme, due to climate change.[71][72] States and municipalities often function as "policy laboratories", developing initiatives that serve as models for federal action. This has been especially true with environmental regulation—most federal environmental laws have been based on state models. In addition, state actions can significantly affect emissions, because many individual states emit high levels of greenhouse gases. Texas, for example, emits more than France, while California's emissions exceed those of Brazil.[73] State actions are also important because states have primary jurisdiction over many areas—such as electric generation, agriculture, and land use—that are critical to addressing climate change.

Many states are participating in Regional climate change initiatives, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the northeastern United States, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative, and the Southwest Climate Change Initiative.

Inside the ten northeastern states implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, carbon dioxide emissions per capita decreased by about 25% from 2000 and 2010, as the state economies continued to grow while enacting various energy efficiency programs.[74]

International cooperation[edit]

The United States, although a signatory to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, under President Clinton, neither ratified nor withdrew from the protocol. In 1997, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously under the Byrd–Hagel Resolution that it was not the sense of the senate that the United States should be a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, and in March 2001, the Bush Administration announced that it would not implement the treaty, saying it would create economic setbacks in the U.S. and does not put enough pressure to limit emissions from developing nations.[75] In February 2002, Bush announced his alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, by bringing forth a plan to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gasses by 18 percent over 10 years. The intensity of greenhouse gasses specifically is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions and economic output, meaning that under this plan, emissions would still continue to grow, but at a slower pace. Bush stated that this plan would prevent the release of 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is about the equivalent of 70 million cars from the road. This target would achieve this goal by providing tax credits to businesses that use renewable energy sources.[76]

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency that EPA regulation of carbon dioxide is required under the Clean Air Act.

President Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade program as part of the 2010 United States federal budget, but this was never adopted by Congress.[77]

President Obama committed in the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.[78] Data from an April 2013 report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), showed a 12% reduction in the 2005 to 2012 period. Just over half of this decrease has been attributed to the recession, and the rest to a variety of factors such as replacing coal-based power generation with natural gas and increasing energy efficiency of American vehicles (according to a Council of Economic Advisors analysis).[79] Executive Order 13514 set various requirements for energy efficiency in federal buildings and operations, including goals for 2015. That year, Executive Order 13693 set requirements for federal operations generally.[clarification needed]

In an address to the U.S. Congress in June 2013, the President detailed a specific action plan to achieve the 17% carbon emissions cut from 2005 by 2020, including measures such as shifting from coal-based power generation to solar and natural gas production.[80] Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed concern at the idea of imposing new fines and regulations on the coal industry while the U.S. still tries to recover from the world economic recession, with Speaker of the House John Boehner saying that the proposed rules "will put thousands and thousands of Americans out of work".[81] Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN's climate secretariat, praised the plan as providing a vital benchmark that people concerned with climate change can use as a paragon both at home and abroad.[82]

After not participating in previous climate international treaties, the United States signed the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016 during the Obama administration. Though this agreement does not mandate a specific reduction for any given country, it sets global goals, asks countries to set their own goals, and mandates reporting.

The U.S. submitted its action plan in March, 2015, ahead of the treaty signing.[83] Reaffirming the November 2014 announcement it made with China,[84] the United States declared it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. This is to be accomplished by several executive actions:[85]

  • Clean Power Plan - regulating sources of electricity (put on hold by the Supreme Court in February, 2016, pending the outcome of a lawsuit)
  • New emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, finalized by EPA in March, 2016[86]
  • Department of Energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings, appliances, and equipment[citation needed]
  • Various actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, including regulation and voluntary efforts related to methane from landfills, agriculture, coal mines; and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) reduction through domestic regulation and amendment of the Montreal Protocol

In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, although the exit process specified by the treaty (which Trump said the U.S. would follow) will last until at least November 4, 2020.[87] Trump states that dropping out the agreement will create more job opportunities in the United States, but it may actually have the opposite effect by stifling the renewable energy industries.[88] At the same time, Trump administration shut down the United States Environmental Protection Agency's climate change web pages and removed mentions of the topic elsewhere on the site.[89] In April 2018, the Trump administration cancelled NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) program, which helped with the monitoring of CO2 emissions and deforestation in the United States and in other countries.[90] The Trump administration has also moved to increase fossil fuel consumption and roll back environmental policies that are considered to be burdensome to businesses.[91]

For offsetting the dismantlement of the Clean Power Plan approximately 10 billion trees would need to be planted. Activists try to plant this number of trees.[92]

In January 2020 Trump announced that the USA would join the Trillion Tree Campaign. Climate activists critiqued the plan for ignoring the root causes of climate change.[93] House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva critiqued the plan as “a feel-good participatory gesture” without a broader portfolia of environmental actions surrounding it.[94]

In June 2020, Democrats proposed a plan for climate action in USA aiming to not sell greenhouse gas emitting cars by 2035, reach zero emissions from the energy sector by 2040 and reduce to zero all the greenhouse gas emission of the country by 2050. The plan includes some actions to improve environmental justice. In 2016, 38% of adults in United States thought that stopping climate change are a top priority which rose to 52% in 2020. Many Republicans share this opinion.[95]

In November 2020 the Federal Reserve asked to join the Network for Greening the Financial System and included Climate Change in the list of risks to the economy.[96] On November 2, Wired published an article about Trump administration efforts to distort and suppress information about climate change by firing the acting chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and distorting the use of climate models at the United States Geological Survey.[97]

On his first day as president, January 20, 2020, Joe Biden signed an executive order pledging that the US would rejoin the Paris Agreement.[98] The US rejoined the agreement on February 19, 2021.[99] This means that countries responsible for two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions have pledged to become carbon neutral; without the US, it had been half.[100]

Society and culture[edit]

Public response[edit]

Public opinion about climate change[edit]

In April 2019, 69% of Americans thought that climate change is happening and 55% think that it is mostly human caused.[101] In September 2019 approximately 75% thought that climate change is real and man made.[102] In November 2016, 69% of registered voters said that USA should remain in Paris Agreement. 13% said that it should leave the agreement[103]

At least three US high schools have objected to mention of climate change in 2019 graduation speeches by students.[104]

Political ideologies[edit]

Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red) have long differed in views of the importance of addressing climate change, with the gap widening in the late 2010s mainly through Democrats' share increasing by more than 30 points.[105]
(Discontinuity resulted from survey changing in 2015 from reciting "global warming" to "climate change".)

Historical support for environmental protection has been relatively non-partisan. Republican Theodore Roosevelt established national parks whereas Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Soil Conservation Service. This non-partisanship began to change during the 1980s when the Reagan administration stated that environmental protection was an economic burden. Views over global warming began to seriously diverge among Democrats and Republicans when ratifying the Kyoto Protocol was being debated in 1998. Gaps in opinions among the general public are often amplified among the political elites, such as members of Congress, who tend to be more polarized.[106] A 2017 study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund of climate change denial in the United States Congress found 180 members who deny the science behind climate change; all were Republicans.[107][108]

Beyond politicians, there is a variety of views by each political party.[109] In March 2014, Gallup found that among Democrats, 45% say they worry a great deal about the quality of the environment while the number drops to 16% for Republicans.[110][111][112]

Political disagreement is also strongly rooted in the potential solutions to addressing climate change. Strategies such as a Cap and Trade system are still a heated argument.[113][better source needed]

On January 20, 2017, within moments of Donald Trump's inauguration, all references to climate change were removed from the White House website. The U.S. has been considered the most authoritative researcher of this information, and there was concern amongst the scientific community as to how the Trump administration would prioritize the issue.[114]

In early indications to news media of the first federal budget process under Donald Trump's administration, there were signs that most efforts under the Obama administration to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would effectively be rolled back.[115]

In July 2018 the Trump Administration released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement from the NHTSA. In it was the prediction that on our current course the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees Fahrenheit (or about 3.9 degrees Celsius) by the end of this century.[116]

Many pages were created to examine and compare the views of the candidates in the presidential election 2020 on climate change. The League of Conservation Voters create a special site, entirely dedicated to the issue called: "Change the Climate 2020".[117] Similar pages were created in the site of NRDC,[118] Ballotpedia,[119] Boston CBS,[120] the Skimm[121]


Calculations in 2021 showed that, for giving the world a 50% chance of avoiding a temperature rise of 2 degrees or more USA should increase its climate commitments by 38%.[122]:Table 1 For a 95% chance it should increase the commitments by 125%. For giving a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees USA should increase its commitments by 203%.[122]

Business community[edit]

In 2015, according to The New York Times and others, oil companies knew that burning oil and gas could cause global warming since the 1970s but, nonetheless, funded deniers for years.[8][9]

A review, published in 2016, of academic literature that explores the potential for greenhouse emissions related liability, calculated that climate change related liability could reach trillions of dollars based on lost revenue from nations that would forced to evacuate because of sea level rise.[123]

Role of the US military[edit]

The US military is an unequivocal validator[clarification needed] of climate science, and its current efforts to value true costs and benefits of energy conservation and increased use of renewables can serve as drivers of change, according to a 2014 study from the University of Pennsylvania Legal Studies Department.[124]

A 2014 report described the projected climate change as a “catalyst for conflict”.[125] The DOD had issued a Fiscal Year 2012 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, in which it outlined its vulnerabilities, yet the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found, that installation officials rarely proposed projects with climate change adaptation, because the processes for approving and funding military construction do not include climate change adaptation in the ranking criteria for projects.[126]

Environmental racism[edit]

There is a growing Climate Gap and prevalence of Environmental racism in the U.S. Climate change will change the United States' current systems/opportunities for low paying jobs typically held by BIPOC[clarification needed] and low SES[clarification needed] people, such as agriculture and tourism. Job opportunities in these fields are expected to decrease and become more taxing on workers due to harsher conditions. Based on a study done on Environmental inequities in California, people of color and people of low socioeconomic status populate the cities with the worst air quality in the state, putting these groups at increased risk for being exposed to harmful air pollutants. Additionally, many low SES individuals may not have adequate access to healthcare to rectify their disproportionate exposure, causing long-term health issues. Racialized families spend higher percentages of their income on basic necessities, and will be disproportionately challenged by rising food prices and other basic necessities, further widening the wealth gap between social classes in the US.[127] One of the most prevalent contributors to health inequity in the food system is climate change.  (See also: Food Sovereignty). Higher food prices will continue to contribute to low SES individuals experiencing an increase in food insecurity, and diets that contribute to malnutrition and obesity. The food system will also see an increase in the spread of diseases such as cholera and filariasis.[128]

Based on a study done on California's population, low SES neighborhoods and neighborhoods occupied by people of color experience heatwaves more frequently, and they effects there are most harsh due to being situated in the middle of cities, a phenomenon called the Heat Island Effect. Additionally, racialized individuals are less likely to have access to air conditioning and transportation to relief stations, doubling the African American mortality rate caused by heat waves in Los Angeles.[127]

Climate change by state or territory[edit]

The impacts of climate change are different from state to state. Generally, states that emit more carbon dioxide per person and block climate action, are suffering more.[2][3][needs update] To learn more about the climate change by state, see the following articles:

See also[edit]


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