Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J. (Nov. 26, 2018) – Rutgers climate scientist Robert Kopp can provide insight on the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report released Friday that details the impacts of climate change in the United States.

Climate change is already having major impacts around the country – on the economy, human health, agriculture, coastal communities, infrastructure and natural ecosystems, the report says. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are necessary to avoid substantial damage over the coming decades.

“Climate change is real, it’s us, it’s here now and it’s getting worse, but it’s not too late to avoid the worst effects,” said Kopp, a professor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS).

He was a lead author of volume one of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which was released last year and detailed the physical effects of climate change. Volume two provides sectoral and regional detail on the effects of climate change, so public and private decision-makers at all levels can make more informed decisions to manage climate risk.

The report highlights five key messages about the impacts of climate change in the U.S. Northeast, including New Jersey:

1. Less distinct seasons with milder winter and earlier spring conditions are already altering ecosystems and environments in ways that adversely impact tourism, farming and forestry. The region’s rural industries and livelihoods are at risk from further changes to forests, wildlife, snowpack and streamflow.

2. The Northeast’s coast and ocean support commerce, tourism and recreation, which are important to the region’s economy and way of life. Warmer ocean temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification threaten these services. The adaptive capacity of marine ecosystems and coastal communities will influence ecological and socioeconomic outcomes as climate risks increase.

3. The Northeast’s urban centers and their interconnections are regional and national hubs for cultural and economic activity. Major negative impacts on critical infrastructure, urban economies and nationally significant historic sites are already occurring and will become more common with a changing climate.

4. Changing climate threatens the health and well-being of people in the Northeast through more extreme weather, warmer temperatures, degradation of air and water quality and sea-level rise.

5. Communities in the Northeast are proactively planning and implementing actions to reduce risks posed by climate change.

Kopp is available for comment at [email protected] and 732-200-2705.


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