The first U.S. National Assessment of the Potential
Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the
United States is being conducted under the auspices of the
U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The
USGCRP was established through the Global Change
Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606) and mandated
through the statute with the responsibility to undertake
periodic scientific assessments of the potential
consequences of global change for the United States. The
goal of the National Assessment is to analyze and
evaluate what is known about the potential consequences
of climate variability and change for the nation in the
context of other pressures on the public, the environment,
and the nation's resources. The conduct of the national
assessment process will involve a broad spectrum of
stakeholders from state, local, tribal, and Federal
governments; business; labor; academia; non-profit
organizations; and the general public. The assessment
will link research by scientists to specific needs of the
stakeholders, and will provide planners, managers,
organizations, and the public with the information needed
to increase resilience to climate variability and cope with
climate change. The national assessment will be
comprised of three components: (1) National synthesis,
(2) Sectoral analyses (agriculture, forestry, water
resources, human health, and the coastal zone), and
(3) Regional analyses. To facilitate comparison,
integration, and synthesis of each of the assessment
components, all regional, sectoral, and synthesis analyses
will use a common set of scenarios for climate change and changes in socio-economic conditions. Specific responsibilities have been defined for oversight of the components of the national assessment and for
coordination activities. A National Assessment Synthesis
Team (NAST) will provide overall intellectual oversight
of the national assessment process and has responsibility
for the development of the Synthesis Report. A National
Assessment Working Group under the auspices of the
USGCRP has lead responsibility for organizing and
sponsoring the sectoral analyses and oversight and
coordination responsibilities for regional analyses. A
National Assessment Coordination Office has been
established to facilitate coordination of the entire national
assessment process. The National Assessment Synthesis
Report is targeted for completion by January 1, 2000, and
is intended to satisfy the mandate for an assessment
defined in P.L. 101-606 and serve as part of the U.S.
contribution to the IPCC Third Assessment Report.