Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
Meredith Muth, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Chapter Lead:
Joel B. Smith, Abt Associates
Chapter Authors:
Alice Alpert, U.S. Department of State
James L. Buizer, University of Arizona
Jonathan Cook, World Resources Institute (formerly U.S. Agency for International Development)
Apurva Dave, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF
John Furlow, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University
Kurt Preston, U.S. Department of Defense
Peter Schultz, ICF
Lisa Vaughan, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Review Editor:
Diana Liverman, University of Arizona
USGCRP Coordinators:
Apurva Dave, International Coordinator and Senior Analyst

Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests


Process Description

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) is the first U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA) to include a chapter that addresses the impacts of climate change beyond the borders of the United States. This chapter was included in NCA4 in response to comments received during public review of the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA3) that proposed that future NCAs include an analysis of international impacts of climate change as they relate to U.S. interests.

This chapter focuses on the implications of international impacts of climate change on U.S. interests. It does not address or summarize all international impacts of climate change; that very broad topic is covered by Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; e.g., IPCC 20141). The U.S. government supports and participates in the IPCC process. The more focused topic of how U.S. interests can be affected by climate impacts outside of the United States is not specifically addressed by the IPCC.

The topics in the chapter—economics and trade, international development and humanitarian assistance, national security, and transboundary resources—were selected because they illustrate ways in which U.S. interests can be affected by international climate impacts. These topics cut across the world, so the chapter does not focus on impacts in specific regions.

The transboundary section was added to address climate-related impacts across U.S. borders. While the regional chapters address local and regional transboundary impacts, they do not address impacts that exist in multiple regions or agreements between the United States and its neighbors that create mechanisms for addressing such impacts.

The science section is part of the chapter because of the importance of international scientific cooperation to our understanding of climate science. That topic is not treated as a separate section because it is not a risk-based issue and therefore not an appropriate candidate to have as a Key Message.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) put out a call for authors for the International chapter both inside and outside the Federal Government. The USGCRP asked for nominations of and by individuals with experience and knowledge on international climate change impacts and implications for the United States as well as experience in assessments such as the NCA.

All of the authors selected for the chapter have extensive experience in international climate change, and several had been authors on past NCAs. Section lead assignments were made based on the expertise of the individuals and, for those authors who are current federal employees, based on the expertise of the agencies. The author team of ten individuals is evenly divided between federal and non-federal personnel.

The coordinating lead author (CLA) and USGCRP organized two public outreach meetings. The first meeting was held at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, on September 15, 2016, as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Adaptation Community Meetings and solicited input on the outline of the chapter and asked for volunteers to become chapter authors or otherwise contribute to the chapter. A public review meeting regarding the International chapter was held on April 6, 2017, at Chemonics in Washington, DC, also as part of USAID’s Adaptation Community Meetings series. The USGCRP and chapter authors shared information about the progress to date of the International chapter and sought input from stakeholders to help inform further development of the chapter, as well as to raise general awareness of the process and timeline for NCA4.

The chapter was revised in response to comments from the public and from the National Academy of Sciences. The comments were reviewed and discussed by the entire author team and the review editor, Dr. Diana Liverman of the University of Arizona. Individual authors drafted responses to comments on their sections, while the CLA and the chapter lead (CL) drafted responses to comments that pertained to the entire chapter. All comments were reviewed by the CLA and CL. The review editor reviewed responses to comments and revisions to the chapter to ensure that all comments had been considered by the authors.


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