The National Climate Assessment – reportedly the most detailed yet – finds widespread climate impacts and says that while actions are underway to mitigate the effects and adapt to new conditions, these efforts are likely insufficient to avoid some of the most extremely negative consequences associated with anthropogenic global warming.
“A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences,” according to the website.
Elizabeth Shogren said this about the assessment in a report filed with NPR’s Newscast unit:
“Climate change already disrupts key parts of our economy — energy, transportation, agriculture and water supply.” – NPR
And here is a “Key Message” directly from the Infrastructure section of the NCA:
“Climate change and its impacts threaten the well-being of urban residents in all U.S. regions. Essential infrastructure systems such as water, energy supply, and transportation will increasingly be compromised by interrelated climate change impacts. The nation’s economy, security, and culture all depend on the resilience of urban infrastructure systems.” National Climate Assessment
This graphic illustrates roads that would be inundated by a 4ft sea level increase, but this region is also the heart of the country’s petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing industries, the relocation of which would likely run into the trillions of dollars.
Here are the assessment’s findings with regard to energy:
“The U.S. energy system provides a secure supply of energy with only occasional interruptions. However, projected impacts of climate change will increase energy use in the summer and pose additional risks to reliability. Extreme weather events and water shortages are already interrupting energy supply and impacts are expected to increase in the future. Most vulnerabilities and risks to energy supply and use are unique to local situations; others are national in scope.” …
Increases in average temperatures and high temperature extremes are expected to lead to increasing demands for electricity for cooling in every U.S. region. Virtually all cooling load is handled by the electrical grid. In order to meet increased demands for peak electricity, additional generating and distribution facilities will be needed, or demand will have to be managed through a variety of mechanisms. Electricity at peak demand typically is more expensive to supply than at average demand.
In addition to being vulnerable to the effects of climate change, electricity generation is a major source of the heat-trapping gases that contribute to climate change. As a result, regulatory or policy efforts aimed at reducing emissions would also affect the energy supply system. – NCA