The Value of Local Climate Assessments

A new article from Pacific Standard highlights three local climate assessments including the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment in addition to the newly released Fourth California Climate Change Assessment and a Climate Change Plan for Broward County, Florida. The article features a brief interview with the lead authors and coordinators for each assessment, with questions ranging from why the state or community chose to develop an assessment, how the assessment is used to create policy, and the response to an assessment, among others. 

In highlighting the 2017 MCA, lead author Dr. Cathy Whitlock, professor of Earth Sciences at Montana State University, describes the response to the assessment, saying "The thing that surprised us is that most people conceded the climate is changing. They can see it. People work on the ground. They're outdoors. They depend on knowing about climate...I never start a talk [by] talking about the cause of climate change. That's just a showstopper in a conservative state. Now, on the other hand, when you show projections in the future, you have to explain how those are developed. You explain: With rising greenhouse gases, this is what it's going to look like. You know, realistically, Montanans have a very small role in causing global warming. It's a very low-population state. We are closing our coal-fired power plant. We're gonna be the ones that really have to adapt to it."