Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States - Report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

This report is

…by far the most up to date, comprehensive, and authoritative assessment of climate change impacts on the United States. It is focused number one on what is already happening, and number two what is expected to happen going forward under both low-emission scenarios where this country and the world elect to take serious measures to reduce the pace and magnitude of climate change, and under higher-emission scenarios in which we don’t.

- Dr. John Holdren, Science Advisor to the President

I really believe this report is a game changer. I think that much of the foot dragging in addressing climate change is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road--it's in the future--and that it only affects remote parts of the planet. And this report demonstrates--provides the concrete scientific information that says unequivocally that climate change is happening now and it's happening in our own backyards and it affects the kinds of things people care about. So I think the dialog is changing. This is science that will inform policymaking. It doesn't dictate any particular solution, but it says this is important, we need to act sooner rather than later, it affects you and the things you care about.

- Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

Links to the Report:  

Some key findings

  • Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow. Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.
  • Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged. Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most adaptable to changes in climate. However, increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production.
  • Threats to human health will increase. Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts.

About the report
On June 16, 2009, the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a major report titled, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. This “unified synthesis product” is the culmination of six years of research and planning and draws on 21 previous reports on different aspects of climate science and impacts produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. It also draws on the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and more recent peer-reviewed literature. The report was produced by a large committee of well-regarded U.S. scientists and has undergone multiple rounds of expert and public review. It is the most comprehensive report on the impacts of climate change in the United States since the first National Assessment published by the Clinton administration in 2000. Since then, scientific evidence has shown clearly that climate change is already occurring and is already affecting the United States. As the new report demonstrates, Americans are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.