Consensus Report

Review of the Draft Fourth National Climate Assessment (2018)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

This review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine evaluates the draft Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) developed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The USGCRP is mandated by Congress to issue a national climate assessment every four years to evaluate the state of climate science and the broad range of impacts of climate change in the United States.

The review concludes that the draft NCA4 report accurately describes the science of climate change and impacts occurring and likely to occur this century across the nation and, with appropriate revisions, can serve as a valuable resource for a wide range of audiences. However, improved communications of key aspects of the draft report would enhance its ability to reach broad audiences. This includes providing more examples that describe the actions taken by private sector, public-private partnerships, and government to illustrate the range of solution-oriented efforts to address climate change impacts and associated risks.

The review suggests that increased linkages across chapters would better capture the interconnected nature of many climate change impacts. In addition, the assessment should list significant advancements made since the Third National Climate Assessment with emphasis on emerging science, impacts, and examples of new response actions.

USGCRP will use the findings of this National Academies' review to strengthen the draft for its expected release of the finalized Fourth National Climate Assessment later this year.