Markey Statement on the Release of the National Climate Assessment

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2014) – Today, the Obama administration released the third U.S. National Climate Assessment. The Global Change Research Act of 1990 required a periodic scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change on the United States. The third installment released today presents the most up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge of climate scientists on the current, and future, impacts in the United States from climate change.  

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the U.S. Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse and the Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees international climate negotiations, and a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement:

“From droughts in the West to deluges in the East, this new report shows that we are becoming the United States of climate change, and that we must act to keep our nation safe and strong. Climate change is a clear and present danger to Massachusetts and the United States. Just as our best strategic analysts assess security risks to our country, the National Climate Assessment brings together our best scientists to understand the threats of climate change. We must act now to respond to the health, economic and environmental impacts and risks that climate change inflicts on our nation. We can’t let carbon polluters pass the buck to hard-working American families through higher doctor bills and the devastation of extreme weather. We can’t let carbon polluters block the clean energy revolution that is unleashing wind and solar technologies and creating jobs across the nation.” 

The report found a variety of impacts in the Northeast, including:

--Between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast has seen more than a 70% increase in the amount of rain falling in the most extreme events (the heaviest 1% of all daily rain events);

--Infrastructure will face an increased risk from climate-related hazards, like sea level rise, coastal flooding and intense rain and snow events;

--Depending on the extent of sea level rise and protection efforts in the future, the estimated cost of total damage to buildings, their contents and emergency could be as high as $94 billion between 2000 and 2100 just in Boston;

--The hottest days in the Northeast are often associated with elevated levels of air pollution. The combination of heat and poor air quality can create a major health risk to young children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory illnesses like asthma;

--Long-term observations of bottom dwelling fish in New England shows that the abundance of warm-water species increased, while cool-water species decreased.