NCA4 Assessment cover

The National Climate Assessment: Examining U.S. Investments Internationally

By Isabela Barriga

The recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), the work of 13 U.S. government agencies and numerous scientists, examines climate impacts on the United States.

The report also has a chapter devoted to climate effects on U.S. international interests. It considers the impacts on four areas of U.S. interest: 1) economics and trade; 2) international development and humanitarian assistance; 3) climate & national security; and 4) transboundary resources. The analysis draws on the foundational climate science from the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) and emphasizes the human welfare and environmental elements of climate change.

The key message for international development and human assistance is that social and economic progress in developing countries is compromised by climate change, variability, and extreme events. Climate impacts increase the demand for humanitarian assistance and undermine U.S. efforts to reduce global poverty and strengthen democratic governance.

The report also highlights USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). FEWS NET works with governments and international partners in 34 countries to collect data and produce analyses of conditions in food-insecure regions and countries. In 2015, FEWS NET helped anticipate a devastating drought in Ethiopia that potentially threatenedthe food security of 15 million people. This data allowed USAID to mobilize an emergency aid program that provided 680,000 metric tons of food to more than 4 million people before the drought materialized.

Another example in the report details USAID’s support to identify and address climate impacts on water supply and wastewater treatment in cities and provinces in the Philippines. By improving the design, management, and maintenance of long-lived infrastructure, the project was able to assist the water-scarce city, Zamboanga, with development of the country’s first urban water demand management plan. Investing in the infrastructure upkeep, local planning and governance also will be essential to its success.

Drawing attention to decisions that can reduce the negative consequences of climate change worldwide, NCA4 illustrates that U.S. investments in developing countries can build capacity and resilience, leading to climate risk reduction and improved livelihoods. Investing in climate adaptation is an opportunity to reduce poverty and fuel the global economy by creating conditions for sustained growth.

United States
Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Climate Science

Isabela Barriga

Isabela es gerente de redes sociales y coordinadora de contenido para Climatelinks a través del proyecto SEEK de USAID. Ella ayuda con la gestión de la información, la investigación y la redacción de blogs. Anteriormente, Isabela brindó apoyo de comunicación y gestión de contenido a organizaciones intergubernamentales, asociaciones público-privadas y misiones diplomáticas, incluidas las Naciones Unidas, GAVI (actualmente, la Alianza de Vacunas) y la Embajada de Ecuador. Isabela tiene un B.S. en Salud Pública y estudios completos en Desarrollo Internacional y Gestión de Conflictos (Universidad de Maryland, College Park).

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