Climate Change

Issue Packages

Climate Change

These four resources will provide an overview of the scientific mechanisms underpinning climate change, provide information about how change will be felt in the United States, and describe some of the policies that could mitigate future changes to the climate.

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Primary Sources

Department of Defense: Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, 2014

The 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap details how climate change affects the Department of Defense's operations, how the department will adapt to and mitigate climate change threats, and how the department will coordinate with other entities addressing climate change. The Department of Defense first listed climate change as a threat to national security in its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.

See more in United States; Climate Change; Preparedness

Op-Ed

Environmental Policies

Author: Julia E. Sweig
Folha de Sao Paulo

On the heels of the EPA's announcement of new carbon emission rules, Julia Sweig reflects in her column on the need for leadership from major economies to tackle climate change and on the prospects for cooperation between the United States and Brazil.

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Primary Sources

Global Change Research Act

The Global Change Research Act was mandated by Congress in 1990 to develop and coordinate "a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change." Every four years, the National Climate Assessment (also called Climate Change Impacts in the United States) reports scientific consensus on how climate change affects the United States, produced by experts from U.S. government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes.

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Must Read

BusinessWeek: Drowning Kiribati

Author: Jeffrey Goldberg

"In our interview, [Anote] Tong said he believes the Obama administration cares about the issue. But he noted that "there are people in Congress who are allergic to the term 'climate change.' " These are the people, he said, he wants to visit Kiribati before it's too late."

See more in Kiribati; Climate Change

Must Read

The Conversation: Why Is Antarctic Sea Ice Growing?

Author: Guy Williams

"This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square metres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010). To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Artic."

See more in Polar Regions; Climate Change

Ask CFR Experts

What is the most urgent global environmental issue and how should it be addressed?

Asked by Matthew Woltmann, from American Military University, California
Author: Daniel P. Ahn

Determining the "most urgent" global environmental issue is somewhat subjective; many would argue that carbon emissions and climate change is the most pressing issue. Others are just as passionate about deforestation, water scarcity, groundwater contamination, loss of biodiversity, landfills, ocean acidification, air quality… the list goes on.

Read full answer

See more in Global; Climate Change; Environmental Policy