Richmond—Virginia and surrounding states are experiencing more heat waves and rising sea-level due in part to global warming, according to the new draft National Climate Assessment report released on Friday, January 11. The draft report incorporates input from more than 240 experts from around the country, and from federal agencies including the Department of Energy and NASA.
“This draft report confirms in exhaustive detail what many Virginians already know: global warming is very real, it is changing our environment in major ways, and it poses serious threats to our safety, our health and our well-being,” said Sarah Bucci, Federal Field Organizer with Environment Virginia. “Thankfully, we have the clean energy solutions at our fingertips to tackle this problem, but we need our elected officials to do more to put these solutions to work.”
From Northern Virginia to Norfolk many of Virginia’s cities just experienced their hottest year on record in 2012 and Virginia Beach’s port is put on the list as one of the most vulnerable in the nation to the risks of continued sea-level rise. Virginia is experiencing many of the dangerous changes in our own weather and climate that are described in the new draft report.
Findings of the draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) report related to nationwide trends include:
- “The climate change of the past 50 years is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels,” and there is “new and stronger evidence” that many of the recent increases in extreme weather are “related to human activities”
- “Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water, and threats to mental health.”
While the draft NCA report does not include policy recommendations, other reports have been clear about the need to combat global warming by cleaning up the largest sources of the carbon pollution that is fueling the problem. The Obama administration is currently working to do just that by developing carbon pollution limits for power plants.
“By setting the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, President Obama can take a historic step toward tackling global warming and addressing the dangerous threats outlined in this draft report,” said Bucci. “We urge the Obama administration to finalize its proposed carbon pollution limits for new power plants, and move forward quickly to set limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants as well.”
The draft NCA report, which is available at http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/, was written by the National Climate Assessment Development Committee, a 60-member federal advisory committee made up of scientists and other experts. The NCA is produced every four years as mandated by a bill passed by Congress in 1990, and is now open to public comment before being finalized and given to Congress and President Obama.