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Latest National Climate Assessment Shows US Already Suffering Damages from Climate Change

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)—a quadrennial report mandated by Congress since 1990—was released today. Thirteen federal agencies develop the NCA using the best available science to help the nation “understand, assess, predict and respond to” climate change. The 1,500-page report examines the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents could expect if drastic action is not taken to address climate change.

Below is a statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, the director of climate science at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and one of the NCA4 report authors.

“This report makes it clear that climate change is not some problem in the distant future. It’s happening right now in every part of the country. When people say the wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves they’re experiencing are unlike anything they’ve seen before, there’s a reason for that, and it’s called climate change.

“U.S. residents are now being forced to cope with dangerously high temperatures, rising seas, deadly wildfires, torrential rainfalls and devastating hurricanes. The report concludes that these climate-related impacts will only get worse and their costs will mount dramatically if carbon emissions continue unabated. Annual losses in some sectors are projected to exceed $100 billion by the end of the century and surpass the gross domestic product of many states.

“The report also points out that climate change is not affecting everyone equally. Low-income communities and communities of color, as well as indigenous peoples, often suffer most.

“In light of the report’s findings, it’s critical that federal, state and local governments take aggressive action to protect U.S. residents by both reining in emissions and helping communities adapt to the climate impacts that are now inevitable.

“While the report doesn’t offer policy recommendations, the findings certainly make a convincing case that the White House should stop rolling back climate policies and recognize that a much larger scale response is required to keep people safe.”

UCS experts have also written blogs on key chapters or aspects of the report.

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, Statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, NCA4 Report Author, Senior UCS Climate Scientist

In addition to resource-specific impacts, the 2018 National Climate Assessment Report discusses region-specific impacts. These chapters are listed and linked below for your easy reference. 

Chapter 18. Northeast

Chapter 19. Southeast

Chapter 20. U.S. Caribbean

Chapter 21. Midwest

Chapter 22. Northern Great Plains

Chapter 23. Southern Great Plains

Chapter 24. Northwest

Chapter 25. Southwest

Chapter 26. Alaska

Chapter 27. Hawai‘i & U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands