Climate change is a crisis of global magnitude, threatening nations regardless of size, location, and power.
Climate change is the most pervasive and existential security challenge confronting communities at home and around the world. Every year, its devastating impact on lives and livelihoods becomes more apparent and severe, while our window to act shrinks.
Flooding, drought, wildfire, and extreme weather events fueled by climate change are becoming more frequent and intense. Climate change is also a major contributor to cascading and converging global crises, from conflict and irregular migration to increasing food and water insecurity and debt distress. Here in the U.S., the direct costs of climate and extreme-weather related disasters are growing – routinely exceeding $150 billion annually – and the second- and third-order effects are impacting the everyday lives in more immediate ways, as insurers withdraw from markets, statewide and regional water conservation measures become necessary and power grids are strained to the point of failure.
What’s more, the world is approaching a tipping point – 1.5 degrees Celsius in temperature rise – at which critical changes in atmospheric and ecological systems become irreversible and pose grave threats for millions of Americans, from a nearly ten-fold increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events to doubling expected sea-level rise. If we fail to act decisively now, climate damage could cost the U.S. economy $14.5 trillion and 900,000 jobs over the next 50 years.
jobs will be added each year for the next five years thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act’s investment in clean energy and project development. The law will add another 99,600 jobs each year after in long-term operations.
The latest science is clear about what the U.S. must do, not only to avert catastrophe, but to realize the $3 trillion opportunity in leading the transition to a clean energy and climate-secure future. To avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable, we must accelerate the energy transition at home and abroad and increase the resilience of our infrastructure and communities. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden and Congress set the stage for a decisive decade of U.S. climate and clean energy leadership, but further action is needed.
You can contribute to these efforts by encouraging your elected representatives in Congress – and leaders at all levels of government – to support policies that will spur clean energy development and deployment and enable us to decarbonize further and faster across the power, transportation, industrial, buildings, and agricultural sectors. But this must be matched by increased support for sustainable development overseas. As a world-leading economy and geopolitical power, we must meet our commitment to deliver $11.4 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries and do more to marshal public and private resources to accelerate the energy transition and support climate adaptation globally.