National Assessment on Climate Change

National Assessment on Climate Change

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is a large-scale national project that is conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, and is one of the many activities of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a program which coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The next National Climate Assessment is due to produce a report for the President and Congress in 2013.



The first National Assessment on Climate Change (NACC) was a multidisciplinary effort to study and portray in regional detail the potential effects of human-induced global warming on the United States. The project was articulated into some 20 regional studies - each involving dozens of scientific and academic experts as well as representatives of industry and environmental groups. The final reports synthesizing regional and national findings were published in November 2000, titled "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change."[1]


The National Assessment received criticism from many of those who were involved in its early review.

"Critics claimed that many of the model-projected impacts of possible future climate changes were overstated and unsubstantiated. The National Assessment Synthesis Team (NAST), with overall authority for the report, countered that much of the criticism it had received did not take into account the time scales upon which the report was based; the report targeted the effects of climate toward the middle of this century to the end of the next. Also, seemingly contradictory outcomes were produced by the two climate models selected for making the climate projections, casting some lingering doubt on the overall value and utility of the results for decision makers at the local, regional, and national levels. Various regional and resource-focused assessments are now available at the USGCRP website [1]. A final synthesis report by the NAST, of the same title and consisting of an overview of all of the regional and sectoral studies, was released in December 2000."[2]

The National Assessment was attacked upon publication by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an industry-funded think tank with an anti-regulatory free-market philosophy and a longstanding history of opposing efforts to address global warming. CEI filed lawsuits seeking to have the NACC report declared unlawful and to suppress its dissemination. These suits were dismissed "with prejudice," which means they had so little merit that they could not be refiled.[2] In an interview, James R. Mahoney, admitted that the Climate Change Science Program has been constrained in its ability to use information in the National Assessment.[citation needed]

The NACC report has also been attacked by other industry-funded think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute. Its critics claim that the report is flawed in its methodology and conclusions, however, their assertions are not based on fact but rather political ideology .[citation needed]

In 2005, a group of scientists took a second look at the National Assessment and declared it a success.[3] Their report was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Science & Technology.


The National Assessment was followed in 2002 by a new program, the Climate Change Science Program. That program produced 21 reports, yielding its first in May, 2006.

In June 2002, the United States Environmental Protection Agency produced its own, separate report on climate change, titled the "Climate Action Report." [4] It reached conclusions similar to the NACC report and was also attacked by CEI, which used the occasion to call for the firing of EPA head Christine Todd Whitman. [5]


  1. ^ NACC "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change."
  2. ^ See Competitive Enterprise Institute v. George Bush, Complaint For Declarative Relief, No. 1:03CV1670 RJL (D.D.C. Aug. 6, 2003); Competitive Enterprise Institute v. George Bush, Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, No. 1:03CV1670 RJL (D.D.C. Nov. 4, 2003).

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