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The National Academies Calls on USGCRP to Adopt Integrated Climate Change Risk Framing

Toned image of Washington DC under menacing clouds

By Dr. Marc Kodack 

In February, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released independent guidance on high level priorities for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) as the USGCRP revises its next decadal strategic plan to be released in 2022. The NASEM’s assessment focused on climate change into the 2030s, and identified multidirectional and interrelated risks to consider (e.g., water-energy-food-health systems), the types of research needed to increase societal resilience to these risks, and actions that the federal agencies who support the USGCRP can do to implement the identified research, drawing on both social and natural sciences. National security is included in the recommended research areas. 

The NASEM assessment argues for shifting USGCRP’s strategic direction to one based on integrated-risk framing instead of one focused on merely documenting changes to the natural environment and their effects on human systems. This shift would provide decision makers at multiple governmental levels more useful information on the interconnectedness of natural and social systems, potential risks and vulnerabilities. While there are different aspects of global change covered by USGCRP, the NASEM assessment focused on climate change. 

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