2014 National Climate Assessment Report Released

20140506.. 3rd NCA, cover imageToday, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the Third National Climate Assessment.  This is the latest in a series of government scientific reports predicting U.S. climate change impacts. The first NCA was issued in 2000, and the second NCA was issued in 2009.

Notably, both major political parties have embraced the need to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” USGCRP was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989, during the first Bush Administration, and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. All three Assessment reports were issued during Democratic administrations.

To view a short analysis of the Third National Climate Assessment, with graphs emphasizing how we are damaging our oceans and our atmosphere, please click on page two of this Post.

Here’s one small opinion.

President Bush issued his Presidential Initiative in 1989. We are now twenty-five years further down the road, with accelerated carbon pollution and no notable progress in reducing our carbon impact on our home planet.

We need to act, but we are failing. If we are ever to get a grip on this expanding problem and take care to protect our environment for future generations, we will need to substantially reduce energy consumption. The easiest ways to do this include the following:

  1. Rationalize Energy Pricing: Impose a steep carbon tax that discourages all carbon-based fuel consumption. End all government subsidies that encourage extraction of fossil fuels (commonly as a political favor to corporations). End all governmental subsidies that encourage energy consumption (commonly as a mechanism to grow the economy and bolster political incumbency).
  2. Emphasize LOCAL Quality of Life: Take decisive actions to reconfigure the physical layout of communities, to eliminate the current excessive reliance on automobiles, aircraft, and other carbon-intensive transportation modes. Within this strategy, to ensure quality of life, all citizens need to have local access to retail, schools, community facilities, and preserved (and ecologically vibrant) natural spaces.
  3. Eliminate Energy Loss in Our Buildings: Ensure optimal designs and technologies are applied to construct and retrofit our residences, workplaces and other buildings, so that we may have healthy air and protection from weather, while minimizing energy consumption.
  4. Rationalize Pricing in Aviation: The current aviation system lacks rational pricing and encourages wasteful routes via overly concentrated airport ‘Super-Hubs’. Restructure the aviation taxes to end overdevelopment of hubs, while incentivizing use of the most direct routes. End all governmental subsidies, such as aviation fuel tax breaks and aircraft purchase tax depreciations, that effectively incentivize aviation consumption of carbon fuels. Invest a reasonable portion of FAA’s efforts to maximize transparency in aviation pricing, so that airlines are motivated to rationally price.
…see page two for a brief overview of the Report…