Senator Markey’s Statement on Release of the National Climate Assessment
Boston (November 23, 2018) – Today, the Trump administration released the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires periodic assessment of the impacts of climate change in the United States. This report is intended to be an authoritative assessment of the impacts of climate change on the United States, done by 13 federal agencies, and builds on the first volume, also called the 2017 Climate Science Special Report which described observed trends of climate change in the United States. Additionally, the report found that future risks from climate change are defined by actions taken today – but the mitigation and adaptation actions taken do not approach the scale necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force and a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement:
“We can see, feel, hear and experience the impacts of climate change when our communities suffer sea level rise, forest fires, and super-charged hurricanes. The Trump administration may want to bury this report so that it doesn’t get attention, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand to the threat of climate change. We need to take action now to reduce carbon pollution and implement the clean energy solutions that will help save our planet.
“Climate change remains the most critical challenge that human civilization faces, and today’s report affirms that conclusion. In this National Climate Assessment, our best scientists are sending up an emergency flare – we need to take action now to mitigate carbon emissions or ignore the risks posed by climate change at our peril.”
The report found the following key impacts in the Northeast:
1. In the very worst-case projections for climate change, sea levels in the Northeast could rise upwards of 11 feet by the end of the century.
2. Almost one-third of sandy shorelines along the U.S. Atlantic coast could erode inland at rates of at least 3.3 feet per year.
3. According to estimates of increasing heat mortality in the Northeast, up to 10,000 more people in Massachusetts could visit the emergency room annually due to rising heat by the end of this century.
4. Warming oceans will harm coastal economies, including fisheries in the Northeast. In 2012, a 2°C temperature rise shifted seasonal availability of lobster, causing an early supply glut and collapse in prices -- this type of negative impact on fishing industries will become more commonplace as the climate continues to warm.