Briefing on the Third National Climate Assessment

On May 8, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA).

Dr. Gary Yohe, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, and Dr. Don Wuebbles, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois, discussed their roles in the development of the 800+ page 2014 NCA and gave an overview of the report’s findings. Both Dr. Yohe and Dr. Wuebbles served on the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) and have worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Under the Global Change Act of 1990, the NCA is to be published every four years, although the last two were published in 2000 and 2009, respectively. Since 2009, the report’s approach and format have undergone major changes.

First, the 2014 NCA moves climate change “firmly into the present” and, for the first time, uses risk-based framing to assist decision-makers in climate change mitigation efforts. The 2014 NCA recognizes that climate change is not a standalone threat, but is rather a risk enhancer that amplifies other threats and infrastructural vulnerabilities.

More so than the previous NCAs, the 2014 NCA was designed to be accessible to the public and aims to foster communication at all levels of decision-making related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and research needs. In keeping with this goal, the 2014 NCA has been published solely online and has been integrated into a user-friendly, interactive website.

Dr. Yohe stressed that the report covers many opportunities for response, and that by accepting the data, we can commit to investing in adaptation, decreasing global emissions, and increasing preparedness and resiliency efforts.

Visit the EESI website and watch a recording of the briefing and be sure to check out NACCHO’s resources on climate change:

About Erin Roberts

Erin Roberts, MPH, is a Program Analyst on the Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response team at NACCHO. Her work includes broadening the public's access to medical countermeasures during a severe pandemic, fostering collaboration between public health and pharmacy, and contributing to NACCHO's food safety initiatives.

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