CLOSE

The National Climate Assessment is out today and it presents mounting evidence that humans are largely to blame for the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.
(USA TODAY, USA NOW)

Devastating droughts in the Southwest, ruinous floods in New York City, killer wildfires in Colorado, intense heat waves in the Plains: These are the some of the disasters that are being exacerbated by global warming, and problems will continue to worsen in the decades to come, according to a massive federal climate report released Tuesday at the White House.

Climate change is affecting where and how Americans live and work as well as their health, and evidence is mounting that burning fossil fuels has made extreme weather such as heat waves and heavy precipitation much more likely in the USA, according to the National Climate Assessment (NCA), the largest, most comprehensive U.S.-focused climate change report ever produced.

President Obama Tuesday met with meteorologists from national and local television outlets to spread the word about the importance of the report. “This is not some distant problem of the future,” he told Today show meteorologist Al Roker. “This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now. Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”

Others echoed those sentiments. “If people took the time to read the report, they would see that it is not necessarily about polar bears, whales or butterflies,” said meteorologist Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia. “I care about all of those, but the NCA is about our kids, dinner table issues, and our well being.”

“Climate change is here and now, and not in some distant time or place,” agreed Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, one of…