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Joel B.

Principal Associate, Health & Environment

Joel B. Smith has been analyzing climate change and adaptation issues for three decades. He was a coordinating lead author or lead author on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was a member of the U.S. National Climate Change Assessment Federal Advisory Committee and the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change. Smith’s technical advice, guidance and training on assessing climate change impacts and adaptation have been sought after by international organizations, the U.S. government, states, municipalities and the nonprofit and private sectors.
Smith has published more than 60 articles and chapters on climate change impacts and adaptation in peer-reviewed journals and books, and has edited a number of books. His works include contributions to books on climate change in the United States, as well as adaptation challenges, including capacity, impacts on systems, and implementation lessons from around the world. In 2016, Smith co-authored the Conclusion and Discussion section in Time to Adapt: Insights from the Global Environment Facility’s Experience in Adaptation to Climate Change.
From 1984 to 1992, Smith worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he was the deputy director of the Climate Change Division. 


  • Environmental policy analysis
  • Global climate change adaptation and vulnerability
  • Decision analysis

Key Projects

  • Climate Change Resilient Development, USAID 2010-2015
  • Assessment of Community Based Adaptation, Kresge Foundation, 2014-2015
  • Egypt’s Vulnerability to Climate Change, United Nations Development Programme 2010-2012
  • Guidance on Incorporating Climate Change into Projects. USAID, 2003-2007
  • Coordinator, Pew Papers on Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation, 1998-2006
  • Analysis of Regional Impacts of Climate Change, Electric Power Research Institute, 1999-2001
  • Chief Technical Advisor on Vulnerability and Adaptation, U.S. Country Studies Program, 1993-1995-2001

Selected Publications/Presentations

Joel B. Smith