FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch Director
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, GAP Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034, ext. 137
Climate Change Impact Report Shows Immediate Need for Action
Obama Administration Must Lead in Preparing for Global Climate Disruption
(Washington, D.C) – Later today, the President’s Science and Technology Adviser John Holdren will release a major new report on the implications of global climate disruption for the United States. This is the first climate science report to come out under the Obama administration, and the most significant U.S. climate impact assessment since the first National Assessment was issued in 2000.
“It’s time to start making up for eight lost years under an administration that left the federal government AWOL in dealing with this problem,” said Rick Piltz, Director of GAP’s Climate Science Watch program.
While the National Assessment report from 2000 was suppressed by the Bush administration, this new report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, is being trumpeted by the White House.
“Right now the United States doesn’t have the policies, institutions, and research in place to deal with the consequences of climate disruption,” Piltz said. “There is a void in the federal system that such a planning and preparedness capability must now be created to fill. We have inherited the situation left behind by the Bush Administration, under which, with climate change, we witnessed a familiar modus operandi: deny and misrepresent the intelligence; suppress honest communication; block the proactive use of government to diagnose and solve problems; evade government accountability; and thereby fail to sufficiently prepare for urgent challenges and impending crises.”
The report is a wide-ranging scientific synthesis by a panel of leading scientists and experts, and illustrates that climate disruption is likely to cause a wide range of damaging impacts on the United States. The report indicates these impacts include the stressing of water resources, which will amplify regional droughts and reduce water supply dependent on western mountain snow-pack. Other findings include:
- Coastal settlements, infrastructure, and ecosystems will be at increasing risk from sea-level rise and more intense hurricanes and storm surges.
- Threats to human health related to heat waves, poor air quality, and diseases carried by insects will increase.
- Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged. Some changes, including species extinctions, will be irreversible.
- Climate disruption will add to the stresses of population growth and overuse of resources. A rapid rate of change will limit the ability of society and natural systems to adapt successfully.
The report underscores the need for strong climate change legislation and underscores the imperative to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The more and sooner emissions are curtailed, the greater the chance of limiting harmful impacts that can’t be successfully managed and adapted to.
“The report shows that the need for strong climate change legislation is about more than clean energy and green jobs,” said Piltz. “It's about the potentially devastating costs and consequences of inaction. The need to jump-start federal action is urgent and should not be delayed by the daunting challenge of enacting major legislation to establish a cap-and-trade system for reducing emissions. The Obama administration can take important steps right now on its own initiative. This will require White House leadership. The President should talk to the American people about the findings of this new report, about why climate change is an urgent problem, and about the risks of inaction.”
“The Obama administration should begin to develop without delay a new national climate change planning and preparedness office specifically designed to put federal expertise and resources to work on pragmatic climate change solutions,” Piltz said. “The administration must restore the credibility of the U.S. Global Change Research Program with new leadership and a new focus on research on the consequences of climate change. This would be a major step toward ending the disconnect between science and society, and the dysfunctional relationship between Washington and local communities. It would quickly begin to re-establish integrity and accountability and undo the damage done by years of delay.
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.