Water pollution from human-caused wildfires, drought and other climate change impacts are posing the most serious threat to U.S. communities, a new report warns.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report Thursday that lays out the risks of rising global temperatures, drought, and flooding, among other factors, in the next decade, with the highest risk of flooding in the West.
The report said water pollution from wildfires, the spread of droughts and other natural disasters could push water consumption and water use to levels not seen since the Industrial Revolution.
The report says that while the country is on track to meet its 2025 carbon reduction goals, the threat of climate change will likely intensify and worsen the problem.
The number of water-related deaths could increase by an estimated 4.4 million, the report says, citing the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Water-related illnesses are also expected to rise by an average of about 500,000 people annually.
And the report warns that climate change could lead to a 50% increase in extreme weather events in the coming decades.
The rise of extreme weather is predicted to increase by about 8.6% by 2100, while the number of severe storms would increase by roughly 10%.
The report cites projections by the National Climate Assessment that a hotter climate will increase the number and intensity of drenching and flooding events by about 1.4%.
The increase in the number, severity and frequency of extreme events could increase water shortages, leading to shortages of drinking water, food, shelter, health care and other basic services.
The increase could be so severe that it would lead to widespread water shortages and the introduction of a new water rationing system, the authors of the report warn.
“If we do not reverse course, the world could face an even more serious threat of a water scarcity crisis than it already is,” CAP President John Podesta said in a statement.
But, Podesta added, it is important to remember that the report is not an assessment of all possible risks, nor does it assess the extent to which the world will meet the Paris Agreement goals.
The study was released on the same day the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to protect endangered species and biodiversity from the impacts of climate changes, which was backed by President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The U.C. Berkeley researchers, including former National Academy of Sciences director Robert Pape and Columbia University climate scientist Michael Mann, said in the report that global warming is already having a “devastating” impact on ecosystems, and more extreme events will likely occur as a result.
Scientists also note that a warming world will make life difficult for people living in places that are already at higher risk for drought, such as Central America, South America and parts of the Pacific Rim.
For example, the study said, more intense drought and floods in the U-District, which is home to some 3.3 million people, would increase the risk of severe weather in the area.
It is also important to keep in mind that the study says the increase in severe weather events would not necessarily lead to more people dying of a particular disease.
Some of the worst-case scenarios include an increase in temperature more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), which could lead more extreme weather, and a rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius (4.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial level, the researchers wrote.
If water consumption is already high, then increasing water use could lead even more extreme water shortages in the future.
Additionally, rising global temperature could also increase the rate at which water is recycled into the atmosphere, which could also contribute to more severe water shortages.
The researchers said it is difficult to predict how extreme events would occur due to the variability of weather and climate, but noted that more extreme conditions are more likely to occur when there is a long period of severe drought.
The United States could experience more severe droughtroughts due to climate change and natural disasters than any other country, according to the report, but that doesn’t mean that we should be afraid.
The study found that water-consumption increases from 2030 to 2035 could account for an additional 1.6 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent in the United States, which the researchers say could result in a total of 3.1 billion metric pounds of CO 2 equivalent.
Climate change could also be driving more extreme precipitation events, which are expected to increase from 0.7 percent of the U’s total precipitation in 2030 to 0.9 percent by 2035, according the report.