Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Report on the Effects of Climate Change on the US

Today, the Obama Administration released a new report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program on the effects of climate change on the United States. This report was released at 1:30 this afternoon with a news conference featuring John Holdren of the White House Office of Science and Jane Lubchenco, the Administrator of NOAA at the White House.

I watched part of this event, and I thought it was well presented and thorough. Too often, these events get too deep into the issues -- which is great for us wonks, but can undercut their use to the general public. The Obama team, however, knows PR and they rolled this out with a strong presentation. Here is a link to the report, and the PowerPoint can be found here.

Both Joe Romm at ClimateProgress and Bradford Plummer at The Vine have excellent summaries of the finding of the report. I won't try to replicate their analysis, but I would say the most compelling sections of the report lay out the direct consequences of climate change on the US. Too often, when talking about the security effects of climate change, we focus only on unstable regions in the developing world. This report makes clear in direct language that major portions of the United States' infrastructure is at risk from climate-induced sea change rises, including downtown New York, pictured at left.

This report doesn't contain any new science, but if it is handled and promoted correctly, it could become as important to US policymakers as the IPCC reports have become. This report should be given directly to every Member of Congress by Dr. Holdren. It is a strong report, with important language, but it must communicated correctly, or it will be lost among the many other reports.

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