Defense Department: Climate change could cause Ohio River to surge 25%

Defense Department: Climate change could cause Ohio River to surge 25%

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A report by the Army Corps of Engineers concludes the impact humans have had pushing global temperatures to the highest levels in modern civilization will not spare the Greater Cincinnati Area.

The impact rising temperatures and fluctuating river levels will be "dramatic and potentially devastating" in the Tri-State, contradicting the Trump administration's stance that climate change is a hoax or based on unsettled science.

The report studying the Ohio River shares the same essential findings on the escalating threat of climate change as a federal report released in November, as well as a report from the Department of Defense analyzing the national security risks climate change brings.

The effects of man-made climate change is already occurring and its most harmful repercussions are comfing sooner than expected, the report found. Southern Ohio could see a 16 percent increase in the average mean temperature by the end of the century — potentially delivering consequences on health and the cost of food and energy. Ohio's temperature by the end of the century could be similar to Alabama today, according to federal data.

The report finds after 2040 is when the environment will take the hardest hit. Between 2041 and 2099, the area's average mean temperature will rise quicker.

Stronger storms fueled by a changing climate will cause the Ohio River to surge up 25 percent between 2041 and 2099, which would likely lead to more frequent and harmful flooding that could have a devastating and expensive impact on the area's infrastructure. The report warns extreme weather such as strong winds, humidity and flooding will become more frequent and less predictable. The Defense Department could not conclude if existing infrastructure can accommodate the climate through the next few decades.

Inland rivers in Ohio and Northern Kentucky could be reduced up to 35 percent due to drought. After 2070, water levels could fall down to 50 percent of current levels.

The Defense Department's reports contradicts President Donald Trump's rejection of climate science, his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the global pact to fight climate change and moves to unwind a number of policies implemented by his predecessor highlights the administration coming up short on climate policy compared to cities and states.

After the president removed the United States from the worldwide pact, Mayor John Cranley announced a plan to use solar energy instead of coal to power Greater Cincinnati Water Works and signed the Sierra Club's Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative, which commits Cincinnati to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Lawmakers and mayors in most of America's major cities have announced similar plans inspired by the nation's previous agreement to the Paris Climate Accord.

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