Federal report outlines climate changes, predicts more extreme weather

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, announced the state’s partnership with Sandia National Laboratories during a news conference at the site of a new solar energy test center on IBM’s Williston campus Monday. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

The Obama administration Tuesday released a scientific report that found human-caused climate change will create more heat waves, extreme weather, rising sea levels, flooding, and heavy downpours – all of which can be mitigated with policy aimed at curbing carbon emissions.

“This important report is another loud and clear warning that greenhouse gases are rising faster than ever and our refusal to recognize and deal with the crisis could have catastrophic consequences,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a statement Tuesday.

Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees, has proposed a bill to tax carbon and methane emissions and use the revenue to fund energy efficiency projects. He called on the Republican-controlled Congress to act on climate change policy.

The Obama administration’s National Climate Assessment report found that climate change will create more extreme weather events and heavy rains over the next century.

Heavy downpours during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 dumped more than 7 inches of rain in some areas of the state to cause up to $250 million in damages to the state’s transportation infrastructure, according to the Agency of Natural Resources.

With much of Vermont’s settlement and infrastructure located along streams and floodplains adjacent to steep slopes, heavy rainfall and runoff during Irene surged through many communities that are still struggling to repair flood damage two-and-a-half years later.

The report states that precipitation during “heavy precipitation events” measured 70 percent more in 2010 than in events in 1958. Under continued carbon emission increases, precipitation in the Northeast could increase by 20 percent to 30 percent by the end of the century.

“Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast,” the report states. “Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.”

For farming in the region, the report predicts more crop damage from heavy precipitation, more invasive weeds and pests associated with warmer winters, changes in species distribution, and losses to biodiversity.

“The 12 Northeastern states have more than 180,000 farms, with $17 billion in annual sales. The region’s ecosystems and agricultural systems are tightly interwoven, and both are vulnerable to a changing climate,” the report states.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said it is undeniable that climate change is real and having an impact on the nation’s environment, economy and health.

“In Vermont, we have experienced extreme weather that has wiped out roads, bridges, and homes. Our farmers are challenged by unpredictable growing seasons. And the futures of our ski areas and maple industry are threatened,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

“The good news is that there is still time to act,” Welch said.

The report states of the 12 states in the northeast, 11 have developed climate change adaptation strategies, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional carbon emission cap-and-trade program where Vermont made $3 million for energy efficiency program last year.

“Local and state governments in the Northeast have been leaders and incubators in utilizing legal and regulatory opportunities to foster climate change policies,” the report states.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said the time to prepare for climate change is now.

“In light of this climate assessment we need to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that we are prepared for what the future holds, and we must work even harder to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals by implementing our state energy plan,” Shumlin said in a statement.

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  • Kathy Nelson

    The VT DC delegation continues on the alarmist conspiracy fringe. Bernie isn’t saying much about the dirty dealings his bill co-sponsor has had with Chinese energy corporations. Looks like the IPCC is taking one hit after another:


    Mostly for cooking the science with a political sauce.

    Bernie can’t tell the difference between climate and weather, if he could he would know that the sun is entering its minimum phase at the Earth is getting colder:


    If Bernie is so keen about climate change he better get off his backside and start figuring out how we are going to keep from freezing to death because his stupid junk wind turbines are not going to do any good.

    • You have linked to an article by a notorious right wing propagandist and a bunch of charts that don’t seem to have much context. I can’t really see how they provide any evidence to back up your allegations.

    • Penelope Chevalier

      I shudder to think that in years to come, people that scoff at using wind turbines and alternative energy, will sound much like the people who scoffed at the world not being flat. Idiocy does not die, it just keeps being reborn, and these unhappy souls can only satisfy themselves by killing or silencing those who speak truths that they fear. There is little hope for humanity I’m afraid.

    • Richard Ratico
  • Paul Lorenzini

    The definition of extreme weather is?


    that is about as long as we have been keeping weather records, right?

    We cannot predict tomorrow,


    straight from the IPCC

    Bernie and Pete Nostradaemus

    • Richard Ratico


      Your pickup truck must have an exhaust leak into the cab.

      Scientists have many ways of determining weather history.

      They generally avoid your thumb in the air technique for forecasts greater than 30 minutes out. Hey, it works for you, right?

      • Paul Lorenzini

        Yes you are right Richard, the same way rain dances make rain.

        • Paul Lorenzini

          make the tribe dance, right? If it doesn’t rain, dance harder, if it rains to much then dance different?

  • Vanessa Mills

    A few no-brainer localized, Vermont-relevant solutions would be to………
    PRESERVE carbon sinks as much as possible: LEAVE forests intact!
    LEAVE ecologically-sensitive,high- elevation lands as undeveloped as possible OR risk creating impermeable high-elevation surfaces for flood water to gain momentum and flow downhill (read: wreak havoc below).
    Keep development to-scale in small states.
    Fortify local food systems even more (at the least, this will minimize carbon emissions associated with shipping on airplanes; this will keep us from contributing to factory farm modalities that exacerbate emissions and unsustainable and impactive environmental/health/socioeconomical practices).

    Fortify small-scale farming and local food security.

    Preserve and protect water quality by protecting and leaving intact UPLAND and lowland and wetland functions of the watershed processes. This is critical if we are indeed looking at heavy rain events and the frequency thereof, RIGHT BERNIE?! Let’s keep these critical water-quality impacting factors in mind when Big Corporate Developers (right, Bernie?!?!) approach our Governor and other leaders and lawmakers and Agencies of the administration and try to seduce them from critical thought processes that preserve water quality!!!!

    Let’s hold the ANR and other agencies and branches and such responsible for protecting our tree-covered carbon sinks, our watersheds and our water quality, our food-producing farmland from flooding.

    Our laws and bills and protective Acts need to protect our state, and the resilience, IF NOT borne in mind, will be measured by how run-off impacts farmlands and communities; how water quality is affected for all of us; how well we keep Big Corporate Development from
    decimating the upper elevations (no mater how said corporations paint these proposals)!

    Further, we need to keep species of pollinators and mosquito eaters protected.
    They will aide in resiliency of many interacting/interdependent species and if we don’t need to figure out how to pollinate food-bearing plantlife when we’ve disturbed natural pollinating species’ numbers beyond repair—this is intelligent foresight! When we don’t disturb mosquito-controlling species beyond repair, we will not have to overspend on polluting chemicals and spray mass areas of rain-soaked lands. Again , good foresight!! If only……….

    FORESIGHT! (what might that save? What resiliency might that ensure???) Bernie should really get this! And resilience in the face of frequent rain events and the foreseen/unforeseen consequences would benefit humans. And so…. we need politicians who get this and who protect/create laws and policies and protections that align with these objectives! ( Am I seeing it wrong??!!??)
    But if we continue to ignore the VALUE of WHAT NATURE and ITS BALANCES DO, and strip mountaintops, rip open forested ridges, blast and use environmentally-unfriendly concrete installations and misdirect our time, monies, energies and development on letting corporations tell us and our representatives how to vote and how to make developer-friendly loopholes, Bernie can call us to action til he’s hoarse, to no avail.

    Local food; sustainable land use; sustainable and small-scale farming/food production; water quality protection; erosion protection-as-opposed-to erosion-creating development; conservation; MORE help for more weatherization; smart consumerism (if that’s not a contraction in terms!); SMALL-SCALE RENEWABLES smartly sited with the above-mentioned items at the front; small-scale-&-localized energy solutions; microgrids. All some smart ideas, for starters.

    And Bernie I think most of these are common sense and are do-able if we don’t let big Corporations woo and sway and buy politicians; and if we don’t let high-paid lobbying arms for such corporations weasel around the statehouse, trying to tell the lawmakers how to think in accordance with their interests……. But then…. Bernie and Peter $humlin and Peter W and Pat L and Deb M…. how crucial is YOUR call here? Do you mean it: protection? Or will you side with the big developers and let them sell and market false and expensive solutions and/or distractions when we (according to this news —which I’m not contesting) don’t have precious time to lose?! What will it be?? Bernie???? Peter?

  • Glenn Thompson

    From the article!

    “The good news is that there is still time to act,” Welch said.

    Such a silly statement! Man can’t even predict the weather accurately…let alone control it!

    • Dennis Shanley

      The good news is we CAN predict the weather accurately and on an ever extending time horizon. The bad news is that the time to act relatively painlessly was at least 40 years ago. Blame goes to big energy, fanatic right wing radio denial and ditto-head ostriches who continue to deny climate change to this day. Their King Canute like efforts will only delay what we must do to survive as a species and lay intolerable burdens on future generations.

  • Don Peterson

    Here is a prediction: When the dust settles on a federal carbon tax, current emitters will be able to offset their sins by the purchases of indulgences, either personally via campaign contributions, or globally via offsets.

    The global rate of energy consumption will continue unabated.

    If we dont rethink the whole economic model of energy intensive economic growth (which created this monster) , then this rollout of global climate concern is just political theater.

    Asking consumers to throttle back their consumption while elites are left with their carbon rich lifestyles (which I might add include flying to Washington DC from Burlington every Sunday night via jet plane) is hypocritical indeed.

    • Art Fern

      Don…….. Well said. As the saying goes, follow the money. As to the article,I am being “Taxed” to death on everything already. The last thing Vermont needs is another “Tax”…..period. I will vote against anyone who supports it.

      • Paul Lorenzini

        Death yes, that is what they want, not their own, just ours. Die soon to reduce your carbon footprint please should be their mantra.

  • Chet Greenwood

    On Jan 27, 2006 Al Gore predicted (from another scientific report but the same team of 300 experts)
    “we have got 10 years to save this planet from a scorching… and the oceans will rise 10 feet.”
    According to Gore we have less than 2 years to prepare the ARK (s).

  • This latest Federal government report on climate delivers on one half of President Obama’s promise of “Hope and Change”.

    It’s the “Change” half of his promise, a change motivated by science.

    Yes, President Obama has made such an incredible mess on everything he has laid his hands on that he has no choice but to change. Change the subject that is.

    With the up coming mid-term elections in which Democrats are expected to get crushed according to most polls and pundits, the President has to turn America’s heads and minds away from:

    His failed economic, diplomatic and health care policies;

    The fact that he has emboldened tyrants across the globe by making empty threats resulting in America being mocked and ignored;

    The fact that he has alienated America’s long standing allies by spying on them and abandoning them in trying times;

    The fact that a large part of the American people believe he lied to them and is not to be trusted has been shown in repeated polls;

    The fact that his long loyal lapdogs in the liberal press are now abandoning him;

    The fact that members of his own party do not want him anywhere near as the mid-term elections approach;

    And of course the list goes on.

    But we must remember that the issuance of latest climate report is based on hard science. Yes folks, it’s based on tried and true “political science” that dictates the need for a “change of subject”, and change it fast. Political science is telling the President to doing something, do anything, but get the people’s attention away from the train wreck called the “Obama Record”.

    Beyond diverting the attention of the American people from the “Obama Record”, the President has to deal with disrespect for his climate change concerns being shown by India and China that are adding a new coal fired power plant each and every week. The actions of these two countries on climate change make the point that both friend and foe around the world are ignoring this President. A pretty sad state of affairs to be sure, but another good reason for President Obama to attempt to change the subject.

    Despite the latest report and all the hoopla, covering this country with wind turbines and solar panels will do little to reverse world climate change and nothing to change the Obama record.

  • John McClaughry

    Reporter Herrick seems not to have had any luck finding somebody responsible to quote on this latest Obama climate alarm report.
    For a quick and dependable (and skeptical) summary, see this by Dr. Marlo Lewis:

    • David Bresett

      Dr Marlo Lewis, also very well known as the polluters best friend. Typical of EAI, parading another flake in front of us like we should believe everything this sad think tank blurts out.

    • Richard Ratico

      Rupert Murdoch and his foxy news are occasionally entertaining. Dependable? That’s a stretch, even for you John.

  • Sara Leggett

    Check food labels and consume nothing with Palm oil as an ingredient. Rain forest being burned at alarming rate so we can eat as we do. Use your consumer clout, we can all do that small step every day.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      Consumer clout with your power of subsidy right?

  • Cynthia Beaudette

    It is positively dizzying trying to conclude who is correct regarding Global Cooling -Global Warming- Climate Change- Catastrophic Change. One thing is certain however, this Report is slanted to begin with having been submitted by those who are entirely believers. There is no balance. Some would say, and have, it is nothing more than Government propaganda and fear…..the formula for justification of all government action, adopted by this administration in a power grab. This administration would never include in the process those they have labeled as “Flat Earthers”. In fact, they deny that any reputable scientist be excluded in their reporting who have doubts if man has anything at all to do with our climate. Despite this, 30,000 documented scientists have signed the Oregon Petition that there is no climate change……at least any we have control over.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      I am attempting to restore balance, no matter what the opposition says.

  • Paul Lutz

    The truth is always in the details, and where the money is. Carbon carbon carbon is killing the planet. What power option has the lowest carbon footprint; Yes, Nuclear. Hmmnn, now why didnt the report mention that? Because, then a tax on air ( is this the Lorax) would not be needed.

    Bernie wants our money, the climate is not the focus.

    Bernie, FIX TH VA!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kathy Nelson

      Paul, I think you may be interested in this:


      Nuclear is indeed our best and cleanest baseload option. It needs to be located in the densest population areas where there are the most energy hogs. Those living in rural and agricultural areas keep more space between their homes and their buildings should be self-sustained, with no utility hook ups or transmission lines, and no utility grade transmission messes scarring the countryside. If cities want food and clean water they had better stop encouraging the destruction of forests and agricultural lands to keep the lights on at their 24hr corner convenience stores.

      • Richard Ratico


        It’s obviously time for your reality check:

        Maybe you would volunteer to have one of Willem’s Gen III modular nukes placed in your back yard. I’m sure a drone can drop one off tomorrow.

        • Paul Lorenzini

          I vote for Kathy, common sense should be the ruler, not Nostradamus Welch/Sanders, from the Ivory Tower of POWER!

  • David Bresett

    Rich people better start making money they can eat when we can know longer plant crops. When animals no longer have grass to graze, what than. Why not understand what scientists are saying and maybe not doubt this. Russian roulette with climate is just plane stupid. Anyone that’s been around for a while knows the weather has drastically changed.

    • Paul Lutz


      First, by starting off by saying “rich people” you show your cards.


      With a warmer climate, we can grow more. Maybe the earth is adapting to the population. Actually, feels like it is getting colder to me.

      Anyone who has been around for awhile knows, the weather changes. Period

      • Paul Lorenzini



        please don’t be shy.

        • Dennis Shanley

          Paul please do not shout. It is considered extremely rude. At your age you should know that.

          • Paul Lorenzini

            Rudeness is stealing folks productivity and endowing yourself with benefits. DENNIS!

  • Roger Carnahan

    I love the picture Bernie. Looks like he is shivering with heavy overcoat. He should be praying for Global Warming.

  • Keith Stern

    How much have the liberals curtailed their carbon footprint? We know Obama and family fly around the world on vacations.
    Do Bernie and Pete travel by mass transit around the state? Hardly. Govern by example hypocrites.

    • Dennis Shanley

      Travel around the state by mass transit? Pray tell me how do I get from East Albany to West Wardsboro by “Mass Transit”?

  • Paul Lorenzini

    Tyrants and ideologues need not lead by example, for they will make an example of you, to further their own dreams and ideals.

  • Jim Chandler

    As a former Vermonter, I am elated to see how many comments reflect the facts as they are with logic and truth. How refreshing compared to the blind hysteria, and reflexive lemming like acceptance of all things Sanders/McKibben/Obama I experienced for way too long.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      Please Jim, come back to VT.

      • Jim Chandler

        Thanks for the invite Paul. We cannot afford the high taxes and utility costs. Also tired of being told how to live by elites that have no practical business experience. There are lots of states with mountains, views, streams, etc. that are more affordable than VT. We found it all in TN. Gotta admit we will always be Red Sox fans, but most games are internet accessible.

        • Paul Lorenzini

          I hear you. Thanks. No giving up here, on my end.

  • Paul Lutz

    Nixon aid informed Nixon the earth had 20 years tops before the sea levels would rise nearly 10 feet and flood NYC. Five years later Time ran a cover story about global cooling. Then, in the 90’s we went back to global warming. Now thye call it “climate change”. How can you argue that?

    Taxing the air??? And people will go for it!!!

  • Paul Lorenzini

    Just dance
    Dance for rain
    Dance for dry
    Ever wonder why
    Because Nostradamus says so
    Sanders is his alias
    Welch and Leahy too
    They can’t themselves tell you
    But Gore told them
    Dancing is fun
    So just do it if you want to have fun!
    Point the finger
    At the wallflower
    Can’t dance
    No fun for you
    Say the scrooges
    Your life is only worth
    What we can make of it
    Here in the Ivory Tower