© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of fields, irrigation canal and pipes in Holtville, California, U.S. September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci/File Photo
(Reuters) – The United States must make much faster and deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades to meet international goals to tame the worst effects of climate change, according to a government report published on Monday.
The draft fifth national climate assessment, to be published every four years by Congress, was released as world leaders and diplomats kicked off a two-week climate summit in Egypt. The United States is the world’s second largest emitter after China.
The United States reduced its emissions by 12% between 2007 and 2019, according to the report, thanks to the adoption of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and improved efficiency. But they need to decline by more than 6% a year to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the economy by 2050.
The report exposes the harms of climate change in all regions of the country in the form of drought, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme events.
He also framed climate change as a risk to “the things Americans value most,” such as safe homes, healthy families, reliable public services and a sustainable economy.
These effects are felt most strongly by low-income and often racialized communities that have historically been forced to settle in areas vulnerable to flooding, extreme heat and air pollution, the report said.
Climate change is hurting regional economies by reducing corn yields in the Midwest, increasing heat-related health risks for outdoor workers in the Southeast, and decreasing fish catches in Alaska, among other impacts.
The report says that immediate actions such as encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and the development of renewable energy, reducing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane and improving cropland management can be profitable and have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions.
The draft is open for public comment until January 27. A final report is expected in 2023.