National Climate Assessment Confirms We Have to Act

Nov. 23, 2018 – Today, the U.S. government released Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), which confirms—once again—that climate change is already having adverse impacts on Americans. “We are seeing more extreme weather, more droughts, more hurricanes. The terrible Camp Fire in California, the devastation caused by Hurricanes Florence and Michael… these events show us what is at stake,” said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner.

How many wake-up calls do we need? Every new National Climate Assessment has built on the previous one, confirming that climate change is already happening, and that we need to act,” Werner insisted. “Time is running out. Unfortunately, the Trump White House is moving in the wrong direction, despite the warnings of its own scientists, and the calls for action from both sides of the aisle. Sadly, the fact that the Administration released this important report on the Friday after Thanksgiving clearly shows its desire to squelch its impact.”

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The U.S. National Climate Assessment begins by stating, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.” And it concludes that “the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.” In this, the report echoes the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released on October 8, which found that the world has just 12 years to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid irreversible changes.

A comprehensive, transparent, peer-reviewed examination of the risks and impacts of climate change throughout the United States, the National Climate Assessment report to the President and Congress is required every four years by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 . Thirteen federal agencies and departments, and hundreds of scientists, worked on the report, which covers every major sector of the U.S. economy (agriculture, energy production, forestry, transportation, water resources…) as well as the natural environment and human health and welfare. The report divides the United States into 10 regions to better analyze how different geographical and climate zones are being affected by climate change (in particular, the new NCA looks at the impacts that have taken place since 2014, when the previous National Climate Assessment was released). In addition to evaluating the risks from climate change on these sectors and regions, the report also showcases success stories and includes two chapters on how climate change risks can be avoided or reduced, by cutting emissions and by adaptation. EESI has placed climate adaptation at the center of its work, with our Building Resilient and Secure Infrastructure briefing series.

Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA): nca2018.globalchange.gov

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (www.eesi.org ) is an independent, non-profit organization advancing innovative policy solutions to set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI educates policymakers, builds coalitions and develops policy in support of energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable biomass, sustainable buildings, and sustainable transportation. EESI was founded by a bipartisan Congressional caucus in 1984, and its strong relationship with Congress helps EESI serve as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environmental issues. EESI receives no congressional funding and is supported through contributions and grants.