On May 6, 2014, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), the authoritative and comprehensive report on climate change and its impacts in the United States. The NCA summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. 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.
The NCA provides information about climate change impacts on all major regions of the United States as well as further changes that we can expect to see throughout this century. The report confirms that climate change is affecting every region of the U.S. as well as key sectors of the national economy. The findings highlight the need for urgent action to mitigate or adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.
Climate change will play a significant role in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) ability to fulfill its mission in the future. It will affect both built and natural infrastructure, which will impact readiness and environmental stewardship responsibilities at hundreds of installations across the nation. Since 2009, SERDP has been investing in the science and tools needed to assess the impacts and vulnerabilities to climate change in a wide range of environments critical to the DoD, including coastal installations, the arctic, Pacific Islands, and the desert Southwest.
As the nation’s largest single energy consumer, DoD fixed installations and non-tactical vehicles contribute nearly 40 percent of the military’s greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change, DoD has made energy policy a high priority and has set goals to improve energy conservation and efficiency, reduce water and energy demand, and increase the use of renewable energy. Advances will provide military installations with increased flexibility, lower costs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
ESTCP, through the Installation Energy Test Bed, has ongoing investments to evaluate building energy efficiency technologies, distributed generation, microgrids, and design tools. Emerging technologies offer a path to respond to the challenges highlighted in the NCA and the Test Bed provides a means for DoD to acquire cost and performance information on military installations, enabling managers to make smart and informed investment decisions.