Patterns of extreme weather are changing in the United States, and climate science predicts that further changes are in store. Extreme weather events lead to billions of dollars in economic damage and loss of life each year. Scientists project that global warming could affect the frequency, timing, location and severity of many types of extreme weather events in the decades to come.
Over the last five years, science has continued to make progress in exploring the connections between global warming and extreme weather. Meanwhile, the United States has experienced a string of extreme events – including massive floods in the Midwest, Tennessee and Northeast, intense hurricanes in Florida and along the Gulf Coast, drought and wildfire in the Southeast and Southwest, and others – that serve as a reminder of the damage that extreme weather can cause to people, the economy and the environment.
This report reviews recent trends in several types of extreme weather, the impacts caused by notable events that have occurred since 2005, and the most recent scientific projections of future changes in extreme weather.
America is the largest consumer of energy in the world, and the majority of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. Our continued reliance on these fuels contributes to global warming, undermines our energy independence, and costs American families and businesses more and more money every year.
America’s dependence on oil threatens our economy and harms our environment. Roughly half of all the oil we use in the United States goes into the gas tanks of our cars and light trucks. The oil we use in our vehicles is also a major contributor to global warming.
The Obama administration is slated to unveil new standards for automobile fuel economy and global warming emissions by the end of March. These new standards—based on the “clean cars program” developed by California and adopted by 13 other states—will make a significant contribution toward reducing America’s dependence on oil and reducing the impact of our vehicles on the environment.
America has virtually limitless potential to tap the energy of the sun. Solar energy is clean, safe, proven and available everywhere, and the price of many solar energy technologies is declining rapidly. By adopting solar energy on a broad scale, the nation can address our biggest energy challenges – our dependence on fossil fuels and the need to address global warming – while also boosting our economy.
Texas has what it takes to be a national leader in solar power. We have the most solar radiation in the country, are home to one of the world’s largest suppliers of solar-grade silicon and wafers, and are innovators in the high tech industry. From a glass company in Wichita Falls, to steel brace fabrication in Brownwood, Texas-based companies span the solar supply chain.