A federal judge chastised the Bush Administration for failing to meet a 2004 deadline to update Congress and the public about the potential consequences of global warming.
An update to the last plan on the books, issued in 2000, was due in 2004, according to rules set by Congress. The 2000 plan outlined serious consequences to land, water, air, plant and animal life and human health if global warming goes unchecked. In the seven years since, a rash of independent scientific studies have predicted in finer detail what could happen.
Consequences include more intense droughts and competition for water in the west, ruined apple crops in the Northeast, and the emergence of new tropical diseases in the south -- to name just a few. The law requiring reports about the state of the climate, and its effects on the United States, was signed by George H.W. Bush in 1990.
Since then, the emissions of carbon dioxide -- the leading gas causing global warming -- have increased 18% in the United States and more than 26% worldwide. Only recently have politicians in the United States talked seriously about finding ways to reduce that pollution.
Maybe more forceful reminders, in the form of reports outlining the consequences of not acting, would have helped Congress act sooner.
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