Annals of global warming: “Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review”


It’s taken too long, but the reports on climate change, required by a 1990 law, flow down the government report-to-the-public pipeline once again.  Mother Jones reports six chief points in the draft document, for which comments are invited before a final document will be issued:

  1. Climate change is definitely caused by human activities. Always nice to hear government officials acknowledge this essential fact. And the report concedes that our only hope of curbing warming is to kick our addiction to greenhouse-gas spewing fossil fuels.

  2. Extreme weather is increasing, and that’s our fault, too.  In particular, searing temperatures, heavy rain, and prolonged drought.

  3. Weather isn’t the only threat we have to worry about. The list sounds like the side-effect warnings at the end of a prescription drug commercial: decreased air quality, insect-borne diseases, and “threats to mental health” are all on the docket for the coming decades.

  4. Our infrastructure is getting hammered, and we’re not spending enough to save it. Floods are destroying farmland; extreme heat is damaging roads, rail lines, and airports; and military installations are at risk.

  5. Food and water security will be up in the air. Especially in water-scarce regions like the Southwest, decreasing snowpack and shrinking groundwater supplies will spark competition for water between “agricultural, municipal, and environmental” uses. At the same time, heavy floods could put water quality at risk with sediment and chemical contaminates. And by mid-century, efforts to artificially protect agriculture (like expanded irrigation) could be over-ridden by temperature and precipitation extremes.

  6. Climate change is hitting plants and animals just as hard as us. Beaches, forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems could shrink or disappear, especially a problem when they play a role in mitigating the impact from extreme weather. And warming, acidifying seas could slam sea life.

The document is available to read online; public comments are invited, but must come in a specific form to be analyzed (the authors expect a lot of comments, and a lot of detailed comments).  Here’s the transmission document from the agency (a few links added here):

Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review

A 60-person Federal Advisory Committee (The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” or NCADAC) has overseen the development of this draft climate report.

The NCADAC, whose members are available here (and in the report), was established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a federal advisory committee established as per the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Committee serves to oversee the activities of the National Climate Assessment. Its members are diverse in background, expertise, geography and sector of employment. A formal record of the committee can be found at the NOAA NCADAC website.

The NCADAC has engaged more than 240 authors in the creation of the report. The authors are acknowledged at the beginning of the chapters they co-authored.

Following extensive review by the National Academies of Sciences and by the public, this report will be revised by the NCADAC and, after additional review, will then be submitted to the Federal Government for consideration in the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) Report.  For more information on the NCA process and background, previous assessments and other NCA information, please explore the NCA web-pages. The NCA is being conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 and is being organized and administered by the Global Change Research Program.

To simply access and read the draft report, please download the chapters below. However, if you would like to submit comments on the report as part of the public process, you will need to enter the “review and comment system” and register with your name and e-mail address and agree to the terms.  All comments must be submitted through the review and comment system.

Contents of the report, chapter by chapter, for your download:

Download Chapters of the NCADAC Draft Climate Assessment Report! 
Download the Full Report (warning, 147Mb. Very large file)Between chapters, there are some page numbers that are not used. This is intentional and does not reflect missing pages.or download each chapter separately:

Cover page

Introduction: Letter to the American People

1. Executive Summary

2. Our Changing Climate

Introduction to Sectors

3. Water Resources

4. Energy Supply and Use

5. Transportation

6. Agriculture

7. Forestry

8. Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services

9. Human Health

10. Water, Energy, and Land Use

11. Urban Systems, Infrastructure, and Vulnerability

12. Impacts of Climate Change on Tribal, Indigenous, and Native Lands and Resources

13. Land Use and Land Cover Change

14. Rural Communities

15. Interactions of Climate Change and Biogeochemical Cycles

Introduction to Regions

16. Northeast

17. Southeast and Caribbean

18. Midwest

19. Great Plains

20. Southwest

21. Northwest

22. Alaska and the Arctic

23. Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands

24. Oceans and Marine Resources

25. Coastal Zone Development and Ecosystems

Introduction to Response Strategies

26. Decision Support: Supporting Policy, Planning, and Resource Management Decisions in a Climate Change Context

27. Mitigation

28. Adaptation

29. Research Agenda for Climate Change Science

30. The NCA Long-Term Process: Vision and Future Development

Appendix I: NCA Climate Science – Addressing Commonly Asked Questions from A to Z

Appendix II: The Science of Climate Change

To provide comments:

Between January 14th and April 12th only: Please go to the Review and Comment System to provide comments on the draft.

You must register and accept the terms in the Review and Comment System in order to review this document. Comments will only be accepted through this system.

NOTE: You will not be allowed to create an account in the system prior to 9am ET January 14th, 2013, and the comment period ends at 5pm ET on April 12th, 2013

If 2012 was, indeed, the year excrement got real in climate change, perhaps 2013 can be the year we start to do something about it.

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