The National Climate Assessment Explained in Less than 3 Minutes


Advisor Holdren:
I’m John Holdren, President Obama’s science
advisor, here to talk about the third U.S.
National Climate Assessment that was released today. This assessment is the
most comprehensive and authoritative account ever
about how climate has been changing in the United
States, how it’s projected to continue to change
in the future, and what can be done by
public officials, planners, businesses, and individuals
to reduce its impacts. The online report provides
unprecedented detail on every geographic region of
the United States, and all of the most affected
sectors of the national economy; and the contents confirm
that climate change is not a distant threat. It is affecting the
American people already. On the whole, summers are longer
and hotter with longer periods of extended heat; wildfires
start earlier in the spring and continue later into the
fall; rain comes down in heavier downpours; people are
experiencing changes in the length and severity
of seasonal allergies; and climate disruptions to
water resources and agriculture have been increasing. Across the country, regions are
experiencing climate change in different ways. For instance, communities in
the Northeast are affected by heatwaves, more extreme
precipitation events, and coastal flooding due to sea
level rise and storm surge. In the Great Plains, rising
temperatures lead to increased demand for water and
energy, and impacts on agricultural practices. Drought and increased warming in
the Southwest foster wildfires and increased competition
for scarce water resources for people and for ecosystems. Scientists who study climate
change confirm that these phenomena are consistent
with the ongoing changes in global climate, which we know with very high confidence
are being caused mainly by the increase of
atmospheric carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases
released by human activities. When President Obama launched
his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, he made
clear that the information in this new National
Climate Assessment would be used to inform
efforts at the federal, state, and local
levels to increase preparedness for and resilience against the
impacts of changes in climate that can no longer be avoided. I urge you to explore the
assessment and to get informed about the climate change impacts
underway in the regions where you live by visiting
whitehouse.gov/climatechange.

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