Time Is Running Out For Our Planet!
On November 23, 2018, the administration released its second volume of the National Climate Assessment, which the federal government is required to produce every four years under the GCRA. The first volume, issued in May 2014, concluded with nearly as much scientific certainty, but not quite the precision on the economic costs, that the tangible impacts of climate change had already started to inflict damage across the country. It cited increasing water scarcity in dry regions, torrential downpours in wet regions and more severe heat waves and wildfires.
The results of the 2014 report helped inform the previous administration as it wrote a set of landmark climate change regulations. The following year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a signature climate change policy, known as the Clean Power Plan, aimed to slash planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants. At the end of the 2015, the United States played a lead role in brokering the Paris Agreement. But in 2016, the new administration campaigned vigorously against those regulations and since winning the election, has systematically and destructively rolled back most of those environmental regulations and has pulled the United States completely out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
This report warned that the current response is insufficient to stave off the worst impacts, stating that neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the US economy, environment, and human health and well-being not in some far-off future but in only a few daunting decades.
This review of the crisis confronting us and the assessment of its devastating toll focuses on the report’s executive summary findings which have been included here in their entirety. The high-level assessment of each of the major areas impacted are in italics, its associated commentary follows, and summarized at the end of this article using additional insights and statistics/data from reporting done by The New York Times and The Guardian. The full 1656-page report is available online and can be viewed at https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/.
FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT - Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.