In a press release from Environment Colorado, "100 Days of Climate Action" was announced in response from the release of the draft report of the National Climate Assessment. Environment Colorado, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and Conservation Colorado have combined to show Coloradans' support for any action the Obama Administration will take in response to the newest data collected on global change and the impact of fossil fuels and emissions on the environment. There are hopes that the administration will appoint a new leader to the EPA that will follow through on the President's commitment to 'global change'.
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) draft report was released Friday January 11th for public review as well as a review from the National Academy of Sciences. This report is done under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. After review and revisions are completed it will be submitted to the Federal Government as the Third National Climate Assessment Report.
The National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) was established in 1972 per the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The committee made up of scientists and professionals from diverse geography and employment, oversees the National Climate Assessment. The more than 60 members have brought together 240 scientists and other experts to compile the draft report.
The chair for the committee is Jerry Melillo. Melillo has had a long association with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), having served as a lead author on both the 1990 and 1995 IPCC Assessment Reports. He was selected by the IPCC to contribute to the reports because of his special expertise in climate change research. Melillo holds a B.A. and a M.A.T. from Wesleyan University and a M.F.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University.
The remaining committee members are no less qualified. They are the culmination of environmental scientists, marine biologists, researchers, members of governmental agencies and include representatives from the American Cancer Society, the Chevron Corporation and Public Utilities Commission just to name a few.
The comprehensive report can be found at the US Global Change Research Program website. The executive summary gives an excellent overview of the report with a breakdown of general findings.
The NCA draft report explains, "Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming. U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5°F since 1895; more than 80% of this increase has occurred since 1980. The most recent decade was the nation’s hottest on record. Though most regions of the U.S. are experiencing warming, the changes in temperature are not uniform. In general, temperatures are rising more quickly at higher latitudes, but there is considerable observed variability across the regions of the U.S."
According to the draft report, US temperatures will continue to rise over the next few decades, and the human impact on the climate is substantial. "In addition to changing climate, carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning has a direct effect on the 36 world’s oceans. Carbon dioxide interacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid, lowering the ocean’s PH. Ocean surface waters have become 30% more acidic as they have absorbed large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ocean acidification reduces the capacity of marine organisms with shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate (such as corals, krill, oysters, clams, and crabs) to survive, grow, and reproduce, which in turn will affect the entire marine food chain."
The draft report also breaks down recommendations of actions that should be taken to minimize the impact, "the past climate is no longer a sufficient indicator of future conditions. Planning and managing based on the climate of the last century means that tolerances of some infrastructure and species will be exceeded. For example, building codes and landscaping ordinances will likely need to be updated not only for energy efficiency, but also to conserve water supplies, protect against insects that spread disease, reduce susceptibility to heat stress, and improve protection against extreme events."
To get the entire report, simply download the file from the Global Change website. There is also a link to the "comment and response system". All comments must go through this system and must be received by April 12, 2013. There are additional links to the list of committee members and NCA Scenarios and Technical Input.
“There’s no longer any question that there’s a problem that needs to be solved. With 2012 being the hottest year on record, and this just-released National Climate Assessment revealing the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and associated extreme weather in Colorado and throughout the country, the issue begs for leadership,” said Anneli Berube, Field Organizer with Environment Colorado. “Through our activities over the next 100 days, we’re intending to move our leaders to action that can address the climate crisis.” Additional information of the '100 Days of Climate Action' is available online.