A US government report warns that climate disasters will continue without strong measures to reduce emissions

A US government report warns that climate disasters will continue without strong measures to reduce emissions

WASHINGTON – The Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) – a quadrennial report mandated by Congress since 1990 – was released today. Thirteen federal agencies are developing the NCA using the best available science to help the nation “understand, assess, predict, and respond” to climate change. The report, more than a thousand pages long, assesses the climate and economic impacts that U.S. residents are already experiencing and can expect to continue in the future under various climate change scenarios. It also examines – in greater detail than previous iterations – environmental inequality and the broader economic impact of climate change.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has experts available to comment on the report’s key findings, as well as on various topics in the report’s chapters, including adaptation, agriculture, climate trends, economic impacts, impacts on cities and coasts, energy use, human health, and international interests, and solutions to help reduce greenhouse emissions, regional impacts within the United States and its territories, and impacts on tribal communities, social systems, justice, infrastructure, and transportation. The report does not provide policy guidance, but the political implications of its findings are starkly clear.

Below is a statement by Dr. Christina Dahl, principal climate scientist at the University of California and contributor to the NCA5 report.

“This scientific assessment of the damage posed by climate change across the country is the latest in a series of alarm bells and demonstrates that the changes we are experiencing are unprecedented in human history. Over the past half-century, the United States has warmed faster than the planet as a whole.” Our nation is also experiencing billions of dollars worth of climate and weather disasters every three weeks on average, with total costs averaging nearly $120 billion annually since 2018.

“The science is irrefutable: We must act quickly to reduce greenhouse emissions and enact transformative climate adaptation policies in every region of the country to reduce the cascade of devastating events and the toll they each take on our lives and our economy. Although the United States has made progress on… Both Fronts In recent years, policymakers’ efforts to reduce global warming emissions and help people prepare for increasing risks remain woefully inadequate and incremental.

“Sadly, the latest NCA report also draws attention to the anxiety and concern our nation’s youth feel about the climate crisis. Children in the United States are feeling fear, anger, and uncertainty about how livable this planet will be in the future, prompting them to take to the streets to protest or… “Filing lawsuits in court. The failure of US political leaders to adequately address the deadly and costly climate crisis cannot continue; our children deserve better.”

The following is a statement from Dr. Rachel Cletus, Policy Director and Chief Economist for the Climate and Energy Program at UCLA.

“This latest government report resoundingly underscores how worsening climate damage will reverberate throughout the U.S. economy if policymakers continue to fail to take quick and decisive action to address the decades-long crisis. Without a rapid transition to a clean energy economy coupled with investments As the country increases its resilience to climate change, people’s health and livelihoods, critical infrastructure, and critical ecosystems will face accelerating damage and risks. Additionally, communities of color and low-income communities will continue to bear harsh and extremely unfair losses from the impacts of climate change. Climate change and its ripple effects.

“To get back on track and meet its climate goals, U.S. greenhouse emissions will need to decline significantly, according to the report. While policies like the TCA represent a big down payment, such an endeavor requires state and federal policymakers to incorporate Climate action across all major policy initiatives in all sectors going forward. Accelerating the pace of increased renewable energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency, while electrifying as much energy use as possible, are the best ways to reduce greenhouse emissions and achieve enormous economic and public health benefits. Communities also need solutions to deal with heatwaves, storms, droughts, wildfires, sea level rise, and other increasing impacts of climate change. Policymakers must ensure that solutions to global warming are implemented in an equitable and just manner.

“The United States is responsible for about one-fifth of total cumulative global carbon emissions. As the leading contributor to historical global warming emissions and the richest nation, our country should be a leader, not a laggard, on climate action. Instead of allowing the continued expansion of long-term oil infrastructure and gas, policymakers should implement a rapid and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels and expand the scope of readily available, reliable, and affordable clean energy solutions.The greatest uncertainty driving our country’s future emissions trajectory is whether U.S. policymakers will “Bold actions and whether they are willing to stand up to powerful, deep-pocketed fossil fuel interests. Our success or failure rests squarely on their shoulders.”

In addition to Drs. Cleetus and Dahl, UCS also has the following experts available to comment on the report:

  • Dr. Juan Declet Barreto is a senior sociologist in the field of climate vulnerability at the University of California. He resides in Washington, D.C. and is fluent in English and Spanish. Click here to view his biography.
  • Jeff Deyette is director of state policy and analysis in the Climate and Energy Program at UCLA. He resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Click here to view his biography.
  • Dr. Brenda Ekworzel, director of climate science at UCLA and co-author of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. She lives in Washington, DC. Click here to view her biography.
  • Dr Umanjana Goswami is an interdisciplinary scientist in the Food and Environment Program at UCL and reviewer of the NCA5 chapter on Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Communities. A new blog by Goswami presenting the highlights of her report and highlighting the need for a food and farm bill that fights climate change is here (link will be live shortly after the report is released). She lives in Washington, DC. Click here to view her biography.
  • Dr. Rachel Laker, principal climate scientist at the University of California. It is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Click here to view her biography.
  • Daria Minovy ​​is a senior analyst at the Center for Science and Democracy at the University of California. She lives in Washington, DC. Click here to view her biography.

Please contact UCS Climate and Energy Media Manager Ashley Seifert Nunes to speak with a UCS scientist or analyst.

UCS tracked severe weather alerts in the United States daily from May through October 2023. Click here to see an animated map showing how the “hazard season” affected nearly every person and county in the country.

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