Each year, starting in 1989, an annual report titled, “Our Changing Planet” has been produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and submitted to Congress.
The USGCRP also conducts the National Climate Assessment (NCA), which has been previously completed in 2000 and 2009. The assessment serves as a “status report” on the latest projected impacts from climate change. The report aims to “incorporate advances in the understanding of climate science into larger social, ecological, and policy systems, and with this provide integrated analyses of impacts and vulnerability.”
The 2009 NCA titled, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” contained alarming information regarding impacts to the Southeast from climate change. SACE has been asked to participate in the development of the energy section of the next NCA, an update to the 2009 version, with the goal of making the assessment more comprehensive than in the past.
One important fact about the Southeast is that from 1980 to 2010 we have experienced more extreme weather events, resulting in more than a billion dollars in damage, than any other region of the United States. This includes a range of events, such as the devastating floods that recently occurred in Nashville, which alone caused more than $1.5 billion in damages.
• Higher air and water temperatures will negatively impact crop production and fish populations. Humans will experience more heat-related illnesses.
• The economy and environment in the Southeast will be impacted by decreased availability of water.
• Coastal areas will be threatened by sea-level rise and an increase in the intensity of hurricanes.
I and other SACE staff will contribute to the energy section of the report, looking at trends on how we produce and consume energy in the Southeast. The update will be published in 2013. We look forward to participating in this important work.
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