Groundbreaking EPA Report Says Climate Indicators a Wake-Up Call

Climate change shown to impact the health and environment of the nation’s citizens

04-27-2010 // Tony Iallonardo
Hurricane flooding

An April 27, 2010 report says heat waves, storms, sea levels, glaciers, and wildlife migrations are just a few of the environmental indicators that show measurable signs of climate change. The report comes at a critical time for national leaders, where a bipartisan Senate climate and energy bill is anticipated to be considered by the U.S. Senate for action this year.

The report, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report is called Climate Change Indicators in the United States and looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation’s citizens. For the vast majority of the indicators, 22 of 24, the report’s authors conclude that climate change has already had scientifically verified effects on our air, oceans, weather and wildlife.

“These indicators show us that climate change is a very real problem with impacts that are already being seen,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Larry Schweiger said the report should make clear that action is needed to combat global warming now.

Every day our lawmakers fail to enact clean energy and climate legislation, we put our economy, our national security and our environment at greater risk. The EPA’s findings underscore the need for the Senate to stay focused and finish the job of crafting and passing a bipartisan climate and energy bill,” Schweiger said.

Some of the key findings include:

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are increasing. Between 1990 and 2008, there has been about a 14 percent increase in emissions in the United States.
  2. Average temperatures are rising. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record for the continental United States have occurred since 1990.
  3. Tropical cyclone intensity has increased in recent decades. Six of the 10 most active hurricane seasons have occurred since the mid-1990s.
  4. Sea levels are rising. From 1993 to 2008, sea level rose twice as fast as the long-term trend.
  5. Glaciers are melting. Loss of glacier volume appears to have accelerated over the last decade.
  6. The frequency of heat waves has risen steadily since the 1960s. The percentage of the U.S. population impacted by heat waves has also increased.

Clearly the case for climate action has never been more solid or more urgent. A bipartisan bill by Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham was scheduled to be introduced today, but has been at least temporarily postponed. Clean energy advocates were quick to say the issue is too important to get ensnared in Capitol Hill politics.

In a joint statement, NWF and eight other national groups said, “Americans are demanding the millions of jobs, energy independence, and clean air and water comprehensive [climate and energy] legislation can deliver. Inaction is too costly, and the challenge is too urgent.”

Read the report at:

Related Resources
  • Policy Solutions
    The National Wildlife Federation works across the country to advocate for climate legislation that will help reduce global warming pollution and protect America's wildlife and natural resources from a changing climate.