Stu Ostro): There’s a lot of short-term year-to-year natural variability superimposed, but the overwhelming evidence is that the longer term temperature trend, which is one of warming, is primarily the result of human activities.
UL) Besides climatic temperature changes, what other Climate Changes do you see happening in the past century due to human carbon and other emissions?
Stu Ostro): A serious trend of Arctic sea ice loss, changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, and changes in the nature of precipitation extremes.
UL) What weather phenomenon outside North America of note would you attribute, if any, to the Climate Change phenomenon, and what weather events in our country would you say have been affected by climate change over the past century?
Stu Ostro): Some of the temperature anomalies and precipitation extremes we’ve seen in recent years likely have a climate change component to them.
UL) Are human injuries, deaths and/or property damage occurring due to weather anomalies produced by Climate Change or is that impossible to assess?
Stu Ostro): If climate change is affecting the day-to-day weather including extremes, which my assessment indicates it is, then there are injuries, deaths, and property damage which have occurred as a result. What’s impossible to assess is exactly how much of those impacts would have occurred without these changes in climate.
UL) Environmentally, what damages have occurred or are occurring world-wide and here due to Climate Change, and are you aware of any species (whether single-celled, plant or mammal) which have become extinct or endangered primarily due to climate change?
Stu Ostro): The frequency of devastating floods worldwide, and the nature of the 2003 Europe and 2010 Russia heat waves, and the kind of topsy-turvy patterns that have produced odd snow extremes, have a signal to them suggesting an influence of climate change. [N/A on the species question – outside my realm.]
UL) What public policies should be highest on the agendas of the state governments, the U.S. government and the U.N. and the international community and which policy initiatives would accomplish the most in an expeditious manner and are ones you would advocate?
Stu Ostro): An increased focus on adaptation to climate change, given that it’s already happening and affecting us regardless of what is done to mitigate the causes.
I can't overestimate the seriousness of one of Stu's comments. Please remember this one from an expert who has been at this for decades:
"If climate change is affecting the day-to-day weather including extremes, which my assessment indicates it is, then there are injuries, deaths, and property damage which have occurred as a result."