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Department of Commerce Appoints and Convenes First Climate Assessment Advisory Committee Meeting

Monday, April 4, 2011
News Media Contacts:
Jana Goldman, (202) 365-6068

Committee to begin planning for nation’s next National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee (committee) met for the first time today to plan the nation’s next National Climate Assessment. The National Climate Assessment synthesizes the latest science and information about current and future impacts of climate change across the United States.

The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires a National Climate Assessment no less frequently than every four years. The committee will function as an advisory body to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), acting through the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The committee will produce an assessment that integrates and interprets the previous findings of the USGCRP and analyzes the effects of current and projected climate change upon  a range of sectors, including agriculture, energy, water resources, human health and transportation, and will focus on regional and national level impacts.  The public will be given opportunities to review and comment.

“Every industry and every community in the United States will feel the effects of climate change in some way. The National Climate Assessment provides a critical, authoritative source of information about the latest scientific understanding of our changing climate on which Americans can confidently make smart decisions for their families, businesses, and communities,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “The extensive and diverse expertise on this committee will ensure a rigorous analysis of the state of climate change science and an end product that is relevant to Americans making important investment decisions about jobs, our economy, the environment, and the public’s health and safety.”

The committee met today in Washington, D.C. to discuss initial plans for conducting the national assessment, which is expected to be completed by June 2013. The meeting continues until Wednesday and is open to the public; an agenda is available here

The committee also will advise the USGCRP on ways to improve and standardize the nation’s capacity to assess climate change impacts, including through ongoing engagement around the nation and across diverse economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation, and national security.

“This committee and its evidence-based approach to the Assessment reaffirm the President’s commitment to putting science at the center as we work to mitigate and adapt to climate change,”   said John P. Holdren, Ph.D., President Obama’s Science and Technology Advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which administers the USGCRP.

The committee's members include academic scientists, the private sector, local and state government, and the non-profit sector from 22 states.  A full list of members and participants is available here.  All meetings are open to the public and opportunities for public input will be provided.

“This committee brings together a high caliber and diverse range of expertise and experience from the private sector, academia and the government to help the nation better understand, anticipate and prepare for the impacts and opportunities presented by a changing climate,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA.  “In order to best prepare for these changing conditions people need reliable information about what to expect and how it will impact them. I look forward to working with them on this important undertaking.”

The National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee members were selected in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and included a request for nominations from the public.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program published the last National Climate Assessment, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States in 2009. The USGCRP is a consortium of 13 federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce.   The USGCRP is overseen by a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, which is administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us online at or on Facebook at


On the Web:

Advisory Committee Members:

Committee Charter:

National Climate Assessment:

Federal Register Notices: