In April 1997, the Canadian and United States governments asked the IJC to propose strategies on meeting the environmental challenges of both countries in the 21st century. Even then, climate change was one of the concerns, along with other drivers such as growth, urbanization, and energy demands. The governments were concerned about a variety of impact categories including water supply, air pollution, toxic chemical use and release, habitat loss and biological diversity, exotic species, waste management, and infrastructure needs.
In response to this request from governments, in its October, 1997 report “The IJC and the 21st Century”, the IJC introduced the concept of the International Watersheds Initiative (IWI). Climate change impacting water quality and quantity was listed as an issue in IJC’s 2009 and 2015 IWI reports governments. In addition to the IWI work, the IJC is also examining climate change adaptation and resiliency through the Great Lakes Water Quality Board (GLWQB).