Climate change is happening today. Scientists have known for some time, from multiple lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions.
The evidence is clear and compelling. Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are warming, the magnitude and frequency of extreme climate and weather events are increasing, and sea level is rising along our coasts.
Climate change is increasingly affecting people’s lives. It is having significant effects on infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, public health, and the ecosystems that support society. It is also changing the environment in ways that affect the distribution, diversity, and long-term survival of species of plants, animals, and other forms of life on Earth.
Decision makers are taking climate into consideration in a variety of contexts—such as federal energy policies and standards, state infrastructure investments, community adaptation plans, which crops to plant, public health strategies, approaches to ecosystem management, sustainable business practices and procedures, national security policy and infrastructure, and personal financial investments and education.
The National Academies are actively working to advance understanding of climate science and its intersection with many areas of science, engineering, and medicine. We are providing guidance on options for limiting the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its impacts. We are also making it easier to use our extensive body of work, increasing its accessibility to decision makers and the public to inform their decisions.
This website is intended to mark the beginning of those efforts. Click on the Discover tab to find useful summaries and links to National Academies resources outlining our understanding of the climate system, of current and anticipated climatic changes, of ways to adapt to these changes, and of potential options to mitigate or lessen future climate change and its impacts on society. To learn more about the work of the National Academies on climate, how to engage with and support this work, and to keep up with current news and future events, click on About, Engage, and News & Events tabs.
Need to answer questions about the evidence for and causes of climate change on the go? The National Academies just released a digital version of the 2020 edition to the popular booklet: Climate Change: Evidence and Causes. A joint product of the National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society originally published in 2014, the booklet answers 20 common questions about climate change.
Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice | Standing Committee
Advice for the US Global Change Research Program | Standing Committee
Earth Science and Applications from Space | Standing Committee
Environmental Health Matters Initiative | Website
Interventions to Increase the Resilience of Coral Reefs | Study Website
Modernizing the U.S. Electric Grid System | Study Website
Roundtable on Population Health Improvement | Roundtable Website
Unconventional Hydrocarbon Roundtable | Roundtable Website