This post was coauthored by SACE Policy & Communications Director, Jennifer Rennicks.
The draft of the newest National Climate Assessment (NCA) report was officially made available today, and the findings for this third climate assessment aren’t comforting:
Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.
– From the report’s Executive Summary
From the report’s first sentence, the findings are made very clear: Climate change is happening now and it is hurting people. This is a warning that the scientists and climate action advocates, like SACE, have cautioned about for some time. In fact, we have an extensive blog archive about the effects that global warming-fueled extreme weather is having on our communities in the Southeast.
Even though we have known about these impacts for some time, this version of the NCA report is particularly significant for a couple reasons:
1) Scientists are more confidently linking the extreme weather we’ve seen in our daily lives to climate change. Linking specific weather events to climate change has always been approached with caution, but because of the frequency and the trend of weather events we’ve seen in recent years, the link is becoming more and more clearly significant.
2) The report is one more piece of evidence blowing the climate denial argument and culture out of the water. This report was a joint collaboration of hundreds of industry leaders, scientific institutions, and government agencies. Even two of environmentalists’ most-disliked corporations fed into the process: Monsanto and Chevron. If even these titans of industry are helping the nation prepare for climate change, it must be conceded that global warming is in fact of concern to conservatives and liberals, big businesses and eco-types alike.