Washington, D.C. — Today, in response to a preview of the Third National Climate Assessment expected to be released Monday, the Center for American Progress released the following statement from CAP Distinguished Senior Fellow Carol M. Browner, former EPA administrator and former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy:
The draft climate assessment released today confirms what the science says and what our eyes are telling us: It’s getting hotter, and that carbon pollution is driving climate change, fueling more violent and frequent weather events and threatening public health. Climate alarms continued to blare in 2012, which was the hottest year on record in the United States. And destructive superstorm Sandy was one of 11 storms, floods, droughts, and heat waves last year that each caused at least $1 billion in damages. The draft assessment warns us that the loss of lives and livelihoods will only get worse, and no part of the nation is safe.
Senior citizens, children, and middle- and lower-income Americans will experience increasing vulnerability to more frequent and ferocious extreme weather events. Residents and businesses in coastal towns will face more damaging storm surges and sea-level rise. Our aging roads, water plants, electricity generation, and other infrastructure will also face more climate-related threats.
We made some progress in reducing climate pollution since 2009 but the draft assessment is a reminder that we must make significantly steeper reductions in industrial carbon pollution. We all need the courage to stand up to the special interests and instead support immediate action to address carbon pollution and climate change. We can start with strict carbon pollution standards for power plants and we must significantly expand investments in community resiliency to protect people and the economy from the gathering storms—and floods, droughts, wildfires, and heat waves. The time to act is now.
The National Climate Assessment, or NCA, is the most comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis of how climate change impacts regions and sectors across the United States, and how our society is responding to it. The NCA findings are developed by the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee, or NCADAC—a 60-member federal advisory committee comprised of notable scientists, business leaders, and other experts.
The review period begins January 14 and continues through April 12, 2013. It will allow members of the public, federal agencies, and scientists from the National Academy of Sciences to review and comment on the draft of the Third National Climate Assessment Report. The report and online comment tool will be available here.
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