Hundreds of researchers agree that climate change is going to alter the way we will live in the coming decades. Every few years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program releases a National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive look into how the country's climate has changed, and what could be ahead.
Here to break this recently released assessment down for us here in Nevada and the Sierra is Steph McAfee. She is an assistant professor in geography at the University of Nevada, Reno, and also works for the state climate office.
McAfee said that among the issues that Nevadans and Californians should pay attention to is average temperature rising, particularly in Reno, Las Vegas and Elko.
“This can lead to a host of problems for people who live in the cities,” McAfee said. “Simple things like, ‘Well, I never needed air conditioning before, and now I do,' and that’s a big expense, or real health risks, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, for people who don’t have access to air conditioning.”
McAfee said a lot of these kinds of issues will disproportionately affect low-income people in these ‘heat island’ cities, which tend to be hotter than rural areas.