What's Happening & Why


Evidence from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans, collected by scientists and engineers from around the world, tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming, and over the last half century, this warming has been driven primarily by human activity—predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.

Impacts on Society

Farmer working a field of crops

Climate change is affecting the American people in far-reaching ways. Impacts related to climate change are evident across regions and in many sectors important to society—such as human health, agriculture and food security, water supply, transportation, energy, ecosystems, and others—and are expected to become increasingly disruptive throughout this century and beyond. 

Response Options

Wind farm

As the impacts of climate change become more prevalent, Americans face decisions about how to plan and respond. Using scientific information to prepare for climate change can create economic opportunities, and proactively managing the risks can reduce impacts and costs over time. 


Researchers drilling into Arctic sea ice (NASA)
In June 2013, President Obama launched a comprehensive Climate Action Plan for the U.S. Government to cut carbon pollution, provide climate preparedness tools and information, and lead international efforts to address climate change. The Plan invokes the critical role of USGCRP in developing sound science to manage climate change impacts. Since 1990, USGCRP has been advancing Earth system science and growing the knowledge base needed to respond to a changing climate and a transforming world.