Friday, January 11, 2013

USGCRP Releases Draft National Climate Assessment Report

Jan 11: The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), has announced the latest draft of the Third National Climate Assessment Report (NCA). The NCA is an important resource for understanding and communicating climate change science and impacts in the United States. It informs the nation about already observed changes, the current status of the climate, and anticipated trends for the future. The NCA report process integrates scientific information from multiple sources and sectors to highlight key findings and significant gaps in our knowledge. The NCA also establishes consistent methods for evaluating climate impacts in the U.S. in the context of broader global change. Finally, findings from the NCA provide input to federal science priorities and are used by U.S. citizens, communities, and businesses as they create more sustainable and environmentally sound plans for the nation's future.
    The National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC), charged with developing the 2013 report and recommendations, released the draft of the Third National Climate Assessment online today and it will be officially released for public review on Monday, January 14. Comments on the report will be accepted until April 12, 2013.
    The NCA is envisioned as an inclusive, nationwide process with many key objectives, including: Evaluating, integrating, and assessing relevant climate science and information from multiple sources; Summarizing and synthesizing the findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program; Increasing understanding of what is known and not known about climate change; Informing climate science research priorities; Building climate assessment capacity, including vulnerability assessment and documentation of impacts in regions and sectors; and Supporting climate‐literacy and skilled use of NCA findings.
    According to an announcement, the NCA process and third report set the stage for more comprehensive assessments in the future. It differs from previous U.S. climate assessments in a variety of ways:
  • It is an ongoing process, rather than a periodic report‐writing activity
  • The NCA includes climate impacts and projections, but also assesses progress in response activities such as adaptation and mitigation
  • Partnerships inside and outside of the government support this effort, including entities in both the public and the private sectors
  • National indicators of change within regions and sectors are being developed, along with consistent and ongoing methods for evaluation
  • This NCA report will be entirely web‐based and the final report will be submitted as an e‐book; this allows easier access to data for citizens and scientists and transparent "line of sight" between data and conclusions
  • This NCA is designed to support decision making processes within and across regions and sectors of the U.S. while also considering the international context of U.S. activities and impacts
    The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires an assessment report at least every four years. The federal government is responsible for producing these reports through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a collaboration of 13 federal science agencies. A 60 member federal advisory committee, the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC), has been charged with developing the 2013 report and recommendations about the ongoing assessment process. The report itself is being written by 240 authors drawn from academia; local, state, and federal government; the private sector; and the nonprofit sector.
    Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, issued a statement saying, "The Sierra Club welcomes the release of the draft of the National Climate Assessment, and our 2.1 million members and supporters are ready to support and amplify these findings. This report underscores what many of us already know -- climate disruption is here and it is exacting real, human and economic costs. 2012 was the hottest year on record for our nation. It was a year rife with droughts, wildfires and extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. In addition, the number of weather catastrophes driven by climate disruption across the world has tripled since 1980, with the greatest increases in North America. The situation is dire and requires nothing short of bold, decisive action by President Obama and our leaders to cut our addiction to fossil fuels and build a clean energy economy."
    Access an overview and background (click here). Access complete information and link to the draft report (click here). [Note: the report is very large (147MB) and may be downloaded in 30 chapters and appendices.] Access the statement from Sierra Club (click here). [#Climate]
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