Climate Assessment Report to Direct Policy Debate

Photo by ~sunny2001bj, some rights reserved.

At the Green Mien we focus on policy that affects the energy industry, but today we have the opportunity to examine a document whose findings will direct policy discussions for years to come. The U.S. National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, required by a 1990 law to submit a report to the President and Congress every four years summarizing the current scientific understanding of climate change and its impacts, released a draft Climate Assessment Report open for public review until April. (Thanks to Osler for their Update on the draft Report).

It’s pretty bulky – over a thousand pages – so maybe you could read it in the three-month comment period. It covers thirty topics, including climate change’s impact on health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, and profiles of particular regions. The draft Report concludes that climate change due to human activity is to some degree inevitable, and that we should focus on mitigation efforts. Namely, economic and health challenges should be front and center, and that companies or states can find new economic opportunities if they recognize and overcome climate challenges.

Mildly critical of the U.S. legislative approach to reducing emissions enough to significantly mitigate climate change’s momentum, the draft Report identifies a model where the most effective state and federal efforts could serve as “best practices” to guide further legislative changes.

In addition, the scope of the Report’s impact will extend to the policy debate in Canada, as the Government of Canada continues to work with the U.S. in climate policy. They are positioned to benefit from the Report’s analysis of climate change’s impact on infrastructure even down to the municipal level, and on health, recreation, and agriculture, because the challenges faced by Canada are relatively similar.

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