May 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. sees escalating climate change impacts, EPA report finds

Photo of a child's tricycle sinking into mud

A child's tricycle sinks in the muck off a boardwalk in Newtok, Alaska. Thawing permafrost creates a wet and ever-shifting environment in the village. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency released a report on Wednesday warning of disturbing changes across the United States caused at least partially by global warming.

Why it matters: The report was delayed for three years under the Trump administration. The former president and his officials, including EPA administrators, disputed the scientific evidence on global warming and rolled back several Obama-era climate policies.

  • The account, part of the EPA's effort to relaunch its climate change website, illustrates the current administration's approach to climate. "Climate facts are back on EPA's website where they should be," EPA administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The updated "Climate Indicators" site depicts a country increasingly buffeted by the effects of climate change.

  • It's noteworthy that the agency moved to add new indicators based on scientific data that has come out in the past few years, and signals the Biden administration's approach to communicating science.

Details: In 2020, ocean heat hit its highest level in recorded history, causing marine heat waves and coral bleaching.

  • Wildfire and pollen seasons are beginning earlier each year and spanning a longer duration.
  • Thawing permafrost in Alaska, the loss of winter ice on the Great Lakes and a surge in summer heat waves across the U.S. also indicate the effects of unprecedented climate change.

What they're saying: "We want to reach people in every corner of this country because there is no small town, city or rural community that’s unaffected by the climate crisis," Regan told reporters Wednesday, per Washington Post.

  • "Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close with increasing regularity."
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