NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL
Every region of the United States is potentially vulnerable to adverse water- related impacts from climate change. Some states are taking action by reducing the greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change and by planning for projected climate change-related impacts. However, many states are not. Nonetheless, the effects of climate change on the nation’s water resources already are being observed. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), warmer temperatures are causing changes to the water cycle that include:
- Changes in precipitation patterns and intensity
- Increases in evaporation
- Changes in runoff and soil moisture
- Changes in the occurrence of drought
- Widespread melting of snow and ice
- Loss of lake and river ice
- Rising water temperature
These changes and their effects on water resources will have wide-ranging impacts on our nation’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods, as well as on our natural resources, and will only intensify as atmospheric greenhouse gas levels grow and temperatures rise further (see Figure ES-1). For a more detailed summary of potential water-related impacts of climate change for each state, see Table ES-1.
To address climate change threats, many states have developed greenhouse gas pollution reduction plans and/or adopted greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets. In fact, 36 states have developed climate action plans that identify measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Meanwhile, 22 states have formally adopted or established greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets or goals. A summary of state actions on climate change pollution reduction and preparedness can be found in Table ES-2.
About the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
“NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is a national nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Montana, and Beijing.”