While pundits and social media users debate the federal government's new climate change report (as well as the controversial timing of its release), one of Minnesota's senators is drawing attention to the dire consequences her home state could suffer under a changing environment.
Released Friday, the "Fourth National Climate Assessment" predicts "growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth" in the U.S. due to rising temperatures and sea levels.
Saving a lot of time and effort for anyone who might be curious about what it all means for Minnesota, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith went through the report, "pulled together a few sections" about Minnesota and the midwest, and posted her work on social media:
The section of the report Smith shared primarily concerns agriculture and public health, with major consequences for each "if we don't take action to address climate change for our environment, families, & economy," the Democratic senator writes.
"Projected changes in precipitation, coupled with rising extreme temperatures before mid-century, will reduce Midwest agricultural productivity to levels of the 1980s without major technological advances," the highlighted section of the report says.
It also warns that corn is especially "vulnerable," which is ominous for Minnesota as the state is a major corn producer (and 1st in the U.S. for sweet corn, according to AgMag).
As for public health, Smith's excerpts point to shortened lifespans for many.
"The Midwest is projected to have the largest increase in extreme temperature-related premature deaths" according to at least one prediction model, the report notes.
That could mean "2,000 additional premature deaths per year" due to the heat alone by the year 2090.
Such deaths would in part be the result of worsening air pollution – "most importantly ground-level ozone" – brought on by rising temperatures.
These deaths would have an economic impact as well, with the report projecting they'll ultimately cost the region $10 billion in lost productivity and other expenses.
"We talk about working for a better future," Smith writes in a Facebook post, "and if we want our environment, our families, and the economy to flourish—we need to act."