Federal Agencies Release Major Climate Report Called for by Congress

On November 23, the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), consisting of 13 federal agencies and drawing on over 300 federal and non-federal experts, released Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

The report finds that climate change is already affecting communities across United States and will impose growing economic, health and safety, and quality of life challenges. It warns that “[w]ithout substantial and sustained mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” and that while mitigation and adaptation efforts have grown, they are not yet at a scale to avert substantial economic, environmental, and human health damage.

The document provides both succinct “Key Messages” and extensive analyses and findings across 16 national-level chapters, covering such topics as energy, water, human health, transportation, agriculture and rural communities, urban systems, and ecosystems, and 10 regional chapters. There are also chapters on risk reduction through adaptation and emissions mitigation.

Underscoring energy’s criticality to all sectors of the economy, the energy chapter focuses on energy security, reliability, and resilience in the face of stresses imposed by a changing climate and changes in energy technologies, markets, and policies. Along with the energy chapter, selected regional and topical chapters may be of particular interest to State Energy Officials.

State Energy Officials may also find other reports and resources associated with USGCRP relevant, such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and State Climate Summaries and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s updated economic impacts of climate change report which quantifies potential physical and economic damages nationally and regionally across multiple sectors.