NCA4 — Too much to ignore

It is of no small consequence that an administration predisposed to discounting climate science and dismantling environmental guardrails did not do more to bury the fourth National Climate Assessment. Aside from dropping it over a holiday weekend, not much has stood in the way of its wide release, and it has its own dedicated .gov URL. The science speaks for itself, the number of agencies participating in and validating the science underscores the conclusions, and plenty has been and will be written about the top-line takeaways in case earth, wind and fire have not been sufficient to make the point for the last several years.

From a sustainable investing point of view, we want to call attention to how the NCA4 Summary Findings are organized. They provide a useful and cogent rubric for organizing societal and environmental impact that can easily be applied to the analysis of securities and portfolios:

  1. Communities
  2. Economy
  3. Interconnected Impacts
  4. Actions to Reduce Risks
  5. Water
  6. Health
  7. Indigenous Peoples
  8. Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services
  9. Agriculture and Food
  10. Infrastructure
  11. Oceans and Coasts
  12. Tourism and Recreation

The full report is exhaustive, but in addition to the summary findings there is a “Report in Brief” that, at 188 pages is probably only brief in governmental terms, but distilled enough to reference and access key takeaways. In a lot of regards there is little new to be found in the report, but having it all in one place is profound not just in making the case for the existence of climate change, but in decisively presenting the immediacy of impact in terms of both time and proximity.