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

Statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, NCA4 Report Author, Senior UCS Climate Scientist

Published Nov 22, 2018

WASHINGTON (November 23, 2018)—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. 

What is the Fourth National Climate Assessment? By Rachel Licker, senior climate scientist at UCS

New National Climate Assessment Shows Climate Change is a Threat to our Economy, Health and Infrastructure By Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy Program and lead economist at UCS

Five Takeaways From the Fourth National Climate Assessment and What They Mean for Food and Farms By Marcia DeLonge, senior scientist in the Food and Environment Program at UCS