April 23, 2019 Insights

Climate Change Must Be Taken Seriously

Lisa A. Decker

On November 23, 2018, a day when consumers were lining up for the best Black Friday deals rather than paying close attention to the news, the Trump administration released the 1700-page Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. 2018: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Report-in-Brief, U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C., https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/ (last visited Jan. 2, 2019) (NCA4). The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that the U.S. Global Change Research Program (made up of scientists from 13 federal agencies) deliver a report to Congress and the president no less than every four years that analyzes effects and trends of global change. The assessment “was written to help inform decision-makers, utility and natural resource managers, public health officials, emergency planners, and other stakeholders by providing a thorough examination of the effects of climate change on the United States.” Id., Report-in-Brief at 1. Ultimately, the report concludes that “the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.” Id. at 26. The report also emphasizes that, while the impacts are projected to intensify, by how much depends on actions taken to reduce the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to adapt to the risks from climate change now and in the coming decades.

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