Why does adaptation matter?

To understand the imperative for climate adaptation, you need only look at what experts see is already facing our planet.

Katharine Jacobs, director of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a detailed analysis of current and future climatic impacts, says the effects of climate change are already evident in more intense wildfires and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts.

And according to the most recent national climate assessment, we’re predicted to see:

  • Increased frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation.
  • An increase in hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates.
  • More intense droughts in the Southwest and heat waves everywhere.
  • A rise in global sea level projected at another 1-to-4 feet by 2100, along with ocean acidification and corresponding impacts on marine ecosystems.

The economic downside of such impacts is huge.

A detailed risk assessment conducted by a bipartisan group including former Treasury secretaries and other major policy figures forecasts massive losses in the near-term alone—$35 billion a year from hurricanes and coastal storms, 10% decline in major crop yields, and $12 billion a year in ratepayer costs for new power plants needed to handle changing climatic conditions.