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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA)

The impacts of global change, and how effectively people and communities can respond to them, are interconnected with historical and current inequities. Effective responses to global change challenges require diversity of thought, knowledge, and experience, as well as careful evaluation of risks, impacts, and responses from the perspectives and practices of equity and environmental justice. USGCRP and its member agencies are emphasizing diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility throughout their activities, aiming to expand participation in federal global change research and help ensure that the benefits of federal research are shared equitably. Selected efforts in 2021 are highlighted below.

Fifth National Climate Assessment. Priorities for NCA5 include ensuring that the development process is inclusive of diverse voices, that the assessment content incorporates science on equity and justice, and that engagement and communication opportunities are accessible to broad audiences. Selected efforts towards these goals include the following:

  • In selecting authors, chapter leads were instructed to consider a range of criteria—such as career stage, gender, geography, expertise, and assessment experience—resulting in author teams that represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise.

  • NCA5 includes a new chapter on Social Systems and Justice, which uses an environmental justice framing to assess the impacts of climate change across the Nation.

  • USGCRP’s Social Sciences Coordinating Committee (SSCC), in collaboration with several environmental justice experts on NCA5 author teams, provided informal guidance to authors on writing about equity and environmental justice topics.

  • Authors were provided with training on the use of Indigenous Knowledge, and staff participated in Tribal Consultations to inform an update of author guidance on the use of Indigenous Knowledge in NCA5.

North American Carbon Program diversity assessment. In early 2021, the North American Carbon Program, which coordinates the research activities funded by several USGCRP agencies, conducted a survey to assess the diversity, experiences, and interests of its membership with respect to equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The resulting assessment outlines the results and proposed actions to improve diversity in the Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences.

Social Sciences Coordinating Committee equity and justice workstream. The SSCC created a new workstream in early 2021 in response to the Biden–Harris Administration's emphasis on equity and environmental justice. The group has shared information on agency equity and justice activities that intersect with climate change science; collected existing resources; and led an interagency discussion on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in calls for proposals.

Coasts Interagency Group federal seminar series. In April–May 2021, USGCRP’s Coasts Interagency Group convened a seminar series for federal agencies on the science of coastal decision-making that hosted federal and non-federal speakers with expertise on various topics, including diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. The series was well attended, and the recordings have been viewed and shared widely within the federal family.