National Climate Assessment Highlights Need for Resilience, Risk Reduction, Science Group Says

Published May 6, 2014


WASHINGTON (May 6, 2014)—The United States Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment, which was released today, offers the fullest accounting yet of the risks Americans face from a changing climate, according to experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“The stakes keep getting higher as emissions increase and as scientists learn more about the risks of climate change,” said Robert Cowin, director of government affairs for UCS’s Climate and Energy Program. “The report clearly outlines the need to make climate resilience a national priority. We’re already feeling the impact of climate change and the costs are formidable. Ideally, we’d have a price on carbon to reduce emissions and help pay for climate resilience measures. In the meantime, Congress can do more to make infrastructure and industry less vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather.”

The report, which is commissioned by Congress, written by a federal advisory committee, and signed off on by 13 science agencies, is the flagship federal report on climate change.

“This report is one of the most useful tools climate researchers produce for American policymakers,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a UCS senior climate scientist. “There’s so much science that’s relevant for people right now, whether its public health officials dealing with heat waves or coastal managers dealing with sea-level rise.”

Cowin and Ekwurzel are both attending a White House event marking the release of the report later today.

Andrew Rosenberg, a lead author for the National Climate Assessment and the director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, wrote about the rigorous scientific process used to draft and review the report.

Several other UCS staff members have also written a series of blogs on the report:

  • Climate economist Paul Baer examines how the report handles certainty around its findings, including on extreme weather.
  • Senior climate economist Rachel Cleetus reviews opportunities for cutting emissions in the power sectors, as well as the dangers of over-relying on natural gas.
  • Ekwurzel writes on how water resources are affected by climate change, including drought and flooding.
  • Climate scientist Robert Mera illuminates the report’s findings on extreme heat in the Western U.S.
  • Senior analyst Erika Spanger-Siegfried will have a post on how the report characterizes the threat of rising seas.