Today (May 6) the U.S. Global Change Research Program released its third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report. The report is the most dire and comprehensive report in the U.S. showing that climate change is already happening, largely because of our consumption of fossil fuels, and we aren’t doing enough to stop it.
The report opens with the following statement: “Climate change is already affecting the American people in far-reaching ways. Certain types of extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or in- tense, including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. In addition, warming is causing sea level to rise and glaciers and Arctic sea ice to melt, and oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide. These and other aspects of climate change are disrupting people’s lives and damaging some sectors of our economy.” It isn’t a rosy picture.
“One of the differences between this report and its predecessors is that scientists have become more confident that human activity—specifically the burning of fossil fuels—has driven most of the warming in the past 50 years,” NPR said.
The report found that carbon dioxide accounted for 84 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 with 97 percent of that coming from the energy sector. “The most direct way to reduce future climate change is to reduce emissions from the energy sector by using energy more efficiently and switching to lower carbon energy sources,” the report stated. It added that “reduction of CO2 emissions from energy supply through the promotion of renewables (such as wind, solar, and bioenergy), nuclear energy, and coal and natural gas electric generation with carbon capture and storage,” should be one of the key mitigation strategies.
The report was prepared by a team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee. It was also reviewed by federal agencies, the public and experts and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. Although the report was produced by this respected body of scientists and experts it’s likely its findings will be doubted by certain members of Congress and climate change deniers.
The New York Times observed this morning that: "The administration hopes to use the report to shore up public support for the president's climate policies as he attempts to put new regulations in place to limit emissions. A major political battle over the rules is expected this summer, with Republicans already accusing Mr. Obama of plotting a 'war on coal.’"
“Every day, the Earth suffers a little more from human neglect. We can’t wish this problem away, and pointing fingers won’t solve it, either,” said Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch. “The U.S. solar industry is doing its part to fight climate change—and we’re prepared to do even more in the future.…When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the 13 GW of solar currently installed in the United States generates enough pollution-free electricity to displace 14.2 billion pounds of coal or 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline.”
“We applaud President Obama on his commitment to fight climate change and pledge our support to this cause as Americans—and as an industry committed to positive change,” Resch said.
Green For All Executive Director Nikki Silvestri responded to report, saying, “We need to expand jobs in clean energy and make sure disadvantaged communities have a shot at them. We need to encourage people to come together to plant gardens and promote sustainable lifestyles.” She added, “The good news is that our leaders are already acting on climate change. We are excited by the potential impacts of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and support the Administration’s efforts to cut emissions from future and existing power plants. We are eager to see the National Climate Assessment move this work forward, so we can build cleaner, stronger communities.”Tweet