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What the National Climate Assessment Means for Local Governments

by Don Knapp

Have you perused the Draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) yet? Consider this 1,000-page report an invaluable resource for your local government -- a gold mine of information and insight. The Assessment can help guide your planning and policy efforts, build the case for action on adaptation and resilience, and even help you create a better sustainability or climate action plan.

View the Draft Assessment

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The draft report, released by a federal advisory panel of leading experts, brings together the latest climate science and data on regional impacts, and makes clear what impacts we’re seeing on the ground now, how they are affecting our lives, and what we can expect in the near future. For the first time, it also takes stock of the state of climate adaptation and response strategies, and offers approaches to decision support in a climate change context.

ICLEI's Climate Programs Director, Brian Holland, was a lead author on the NCA.

A Detailed Picture at Community Level

You already know the report’s big picture: It’s getting hotter in the United States, the seas are rising, and our communities from coast to coast are threatened by a range of impacts that arise from a warmer world. But the Assessment gets granular on impacts by sector (energy, water, transportation, human health—as well as urban systems and infrastructure) and region (Northeast, Coastal Zones, etc.). You'll find predicted coastal flooding in New Jersey, strategies to protect against storm surge in New York City, and seemingly a thousand other ways to grasp the problem of climate change and the solutions at play. Every chapter provides a sense of what climate change means at community level. Take a quick scan of the table of contents and you’ll probably end up diving into the pdfs.

Don’t be intimidated by the size: You can download individual chapters, each of which state the key messages. The good people at the Climate Reality Project have also released nine user-friendly fact sheets that distill the big takeaways for each region.

Climate Reality Fact Sheets

National Overview

Northeast Region

Southeast Region

Southwest Region

Great Plains Region

Midwest Region

Northwest Region

Alaska

Hawaii

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