Building support for action on climate change by ensuring that policy makers, media and citizens are aware of the local climate impacts occurring across the country.
Evidence is mounting that human-induced warming is contributing to increased frequency and intensity of several types of extreme weather events, including heat waves, torrential downpours, and coastal flooding. Recent extreme weather events – such as Superstorm Sandy – combined with record heat, recurring severe droughts, and other local impacts are making tangible the costs of climate change and have begun to alter the conversation on climate change around the country.
Research shows that nearly 4 out of 5 Americans live in areas impacted by at least one federally declared weather-related disaster between 2007 and 2012. In 2011 and 2012, there were an aggregate 25 extreme weather and climate events that cost more than $1 billion each, resulting in up to $188 billion in cumulative economic damages over the two year span. These trends are expected to continue – with associated damages worsening – in an increasingly warmer world. The message that climate change is not just a problem for future generations but one that is already occurring today needs to be better communicated to the U.S. Congress, state governments, and businesses.
The U.S. Climate Impacts initiative works to ensure that policy makers at all levels of government are aware of climate impacts, local efforts to respond and the need for national policy to address the impacts and root causes. The resources generated by this work help increase awareness of climate change impacts among localities throughout the United States. By bridging the climate change communications gap between scientists, decision makers, and the public, this information can supplement local and state efforts to address climate change.