What is the best, most accurate soundbite for climate science advocates asked about projected climate impacts on this country by 2100 assuming we stay on business-as-usual emissions — according to the latest science?
I suggest some version of
On our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of the United States 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or higher, the U.S. Southwest a permanent Dust Bowl, half or more species extinct, and much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone.
I say that, of course, because that is what the latest science says, as I document at length with links to the literature here: An introduction to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water.
You can quibble with the word choice, and sometimes I don’t remember to say every word or phrase I’d like to, such as “from preindustrial levels” [or "from Kansas and Oklahoham to California"]. But this is now the median projection for business-as-usual emissions and warming. It might not be that bad, but it could be much worse.
If you like to err on the conservative side, you can throw in “up to” — i.e. “we are projected to warm most of the U.S. up to 15°F or more by 2100, with sea level rise of up to 5 feet or more….”
Now conservatives, who err all the time, don’t like blunt progressives who know their science. So they are trying to shout down this soundbite by misstating the science.