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Draft Climate Assessment Report Released

The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee has released a draft climate assessment report for public comment. The Draft Report discusses the various aspects of climate change and specific impacts on the various regions of the United States.

The Executive Summary provides an overview of the report with cross references to topics contained in specific chapters.

Noting human contribution to climate change the Executive Summary states:

“Human-induced climate change means much more than just hotter weather. Increases in ocean and freshwater temperatures, frost-free days, and heavy downpours have all been documented.Sea level has risen, and there have been large reductions in snow-cover extent, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. Winter storms along the west coast and the coast of New England have increased slightly in frequency and intensity. These changes and other climatic changes have affected and will continue to affect human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, and many other aspects of society (Ch. 2,3,4,5,6,10,12,16,20,24,25).”

The Executive Summary goes on to note:
” As climate change and its impacts are becoming more prevalent, Americans face choices. As a result of past emissions of heat-trapping gases, some amount of additional climate change and related impacts is now unavoidable. This is due to the long-lived nature of many of these gases, the amount of heat absorbed and retained by the oceans, and other responses within the climate system. However, beyond the next few decades, the amount of climate change will still largely be determined by choices society makes about emissions. Lower emissions mean less future warming and less severe impacts; higher emissions would mean more warming and more severe impacts. The choices about emissions pathway fall into a category of response options usually referred to as “mitigation” – ways to reduce the amount and speed of future climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases (Ch. 2, 26, 27).”

For those who are interested, there is a link in order to create an account and comment on the draft.

-Steven M. Silverberg