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National Climate Assessment Underscores Urgent Need for Americans and Our Businesses to Prepare for Climate Change in the United States

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Cover of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment report

Guest Blog Post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

The effects of climate change on our planet are becoming more evident, and its impact on our communities, and key sectors of the economy, is becoming more profound.

As part of its overall efforts to provide scientific information about climate change, the Obama Administration released the third U.S. National Climate Assessment. This report – a key deliverable of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan – is a comprehensive, authoritative scientific assessment about climate changes that are happening now in the U.S. and further changes that we can expect to see throughout this century.

The report communicates the impacts of climate change according to geographic region of the U.S., and by economic and societal sector—including agriculture, energy, and health. These tailored findings help translate scientific insights into practical, useable knowledge that can help decision-makers and citizens anticipate and prepare for specific climate-change impacts.

Among the 12 key findings, the report concludes that evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country. Over the next 100 years, we can expect these impacts to further increase unless the global emissions of heat-trapping greenhouses gases are stabilized or reduced. 

While these findings are indeed sobering and provide real-cause for concern, there is also reason for hope. Ultimately, the amount of climate change, severity of impacts, and how we will prepare for those impacts will be largely be determined by the decisions we make today. 

The question of our time is not IF the next big weather event will happen, but WHEN, and WHAT blow it will deliver to our society and economy. We need only look to last week’s flooding or the recent spring tornadoes as a reminder. This assessment provides the kind of foresight – or “environmental intelligence” – that people, communities, and businesses need to prepare for and adapt to climate change.

To learn more about the National Climate Assessment and NOAA’s role in providing trusted science and information to make our nation better prepared and resilient to a changing climate, visit www.globalchange.gov and climate.gov.

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