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New U.S. Government Analysis of Climate Effects Looks at American International Interests


Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Was Led by Abt’s Joel B. Smith

Rockville, Md.  –  Joel B. Smith of Abt Associates served as the chapter lead of one section of the just-released Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA).  Entitled “Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests,” it details the impact of climate change on U.S. security, trade and economics, development assistance and border issues.  This is the first time that an NCA report has addressed the impacts of climate change abroad on the United States.

Mr. Smith’s participation was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for the Climate Economic Analysis, Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR) Activity implemented by Crown Agents-USA and Abt Associates. 

The chapter addresses:

  • Security. Climate change already is affecting Department of Defense assets by damaging roads, runways and waterfront infrastructure. More broadly, while the direct pathways between climate-related stress and conflict are unclear, climate variability and change can increase the potential for conflict as a result of impacts such as resource competition, commodity price shocks and food insecurity. Human migration as a result of extreme weather is another concern.
  • Trade and economics.  Climate change impacts that occur outside the United States can affect the country’s economic growth and trade through its impacts on U.S. businesses with overseas operations and foreign trade partners, overseas supply chains and import and export prices.
  • Development assistance. The impacts of climate change, variability and extreme events can slow or reverse economic progress in developing countries, thus undermining foreign aid and investment by the United States and increasing the need for humanitarian assistance.
  • Border issues. The resources we share on our borders with neighboring countries, such as forests, rivers, and fisheries are vulnerable to impacts from a changing climate, variability and extreme events.

The international chapter is one of 29 chapters in the NCA. Other chapters cover sectors and regions of the United States and other topics such as reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation.

Read the complete report.

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security.  Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

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