The White House May 6 released the third National Climate Change Assessment (NCA) documenting the impact climate change has on the United States. The current report is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The President’s Climate Action Plan is the Obama Administration’s strategic initiative to cut carbon pollution; prepare the US for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.
The NCA states that climate change is having wide ranging environmental impacts on all regions of the United States. The report also states that climate change will have impacts on key sectors of society and the US economy. The effects of climate change, documented by the NCA include heat waves, storm surges and extreme precipitation in the Northeast; increased risk of droughts and wild fires in the Southwest; and receding summer sea ice and shrinking glaciers off of the coast of Alaska. The report also states that climate change’s impact on health and the economy include decreased air quality and decreased agricultural output. The NCA states that adapting strategies that encourage conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions can mitigate the effects of climate change and increase community resiliency.
The NCA is a requirement of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (GCRA). The GCRA requires a report to the President and Congress every four years. The first NCA was released in 2000 and the second was released in 2009. The federal government is responsible for producing these reports through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a collaboration of 13 federal agencies and departments, and must be approved by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC). NCADAC is a 60-person U.S. Federal Advisory Committee which oversees the development of the NCA. NCADAC was established in 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
To learn more about the National Climate Change Assessment and to read the full report, visit www.globalchange.gov.