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Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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The Road Less
Travelled: Toward
Adaptation Science

that Makes a Difference



Benjamin Preston

Deputy Director

Climate Change Science Institute

Oak Ridge National Laboratory





Climate Adaptation Futures

Tucson, AZ

29
-
31 May 2012




Acknowledgements:
Emma J. Yuen, Richard Westaway

The adaptation science enterprise continues
to grow



Yet, our understanding
of how that science is
translated into
successful outcomes is
poor


If we want our science
to contribute to driving
change, we are in
desperate need of more
critical evaluation of its
utility


Preston et al. (forthcoming)

Annual number of peer
-
reviewed publications with the topical words
“climate” and “adaptation”. Source: Web of Knowledge [accessed 15
September 2011].

Climate Adaptation in the Peer
-
Reviewed Literature

What is ‘successful’ adaptation science?


Science that is perceived to be of value in. . .


Building new understanding of adaptation processes


Informing (directly or indirectly) adaptation responses by actors


Evaluating success remains challenging


There is a paucity of critical reflection by adaptation researchers
upon the utility of their craft


Daffara

et al. (2010) on adaptive capacity research


Hinkel

(2010) on vulnerability assessment


Eakin

and
Patt

(2011) on adaptation assessment


Preston et al. (2011) on vulnerability mapping


Yuen et al. (2012) on learning from vulnerability assessment


Actors have different needs, thresholds for action


Science has a limited shelf life


Case studies provide a means of exploring
success in different adaptation contexts


We’re examining three case studies that reflect different
framings of adaptation:


Risk Management Framing


‘Climate proofing’ water utilities in the
United Kingdom
(based on the work of Dessai)


Developmental Framing


Overcoming barriers to adaptation in
Sydney, Australia

(based on the work of Smith et al., Preston et al.)


Transformational Framing


Exploring adaptation in the Australian
wine industry
(
based on the work of Park et al., Webb et al
.)


Alternative framings of adaptation

Criteria

Risk management
framing

Developmental framing

Transformation framing

Degree of
change

Small

Small to Modest

Substantial

Perceived
drivers of
adaptation

Few:
climate

change impacts/risk

Multiple:
climate one of
several driving forces

Many:
interaction

among
multiple driving forces
and values systems

Vision
Descriptor

of
adaptation

Incremental:

technology
-
based
responses to
discrete risks

Incremental:
development of
institutional capacities
and removal of barriers

Transformational:
change of management

objectives and underlying
values of actors

Research
Focus

Quantitative
:

likelihood of
achieving
management
objectives

Qualitative
:
understanding of
adaptation

constraints
and limits

Qualitative
:
understanding of
transition processes and
values that guide
decision
-
making

Climate risk to UK water utilities


Actors


UK water utilities


Context for adaptation


Utility asset management plans (AMP) guide planning and investment cycles


AMPs have evolved over time to emphasize consideration for climate risk


Knowledge


Climate change projections (UKCIP98, UKCIP02, . . .) and hydrological modeling


Demand estimates, licensing criteria, water quality, infrastructure management


Outcomes


Progressively more intensive assessment of climate risk


But, limited evidence of implementation of responses to address long
-
term risk


Uncertainty in climate information poses challenges


Regulatory environment, finance of adaptation are key constraints


Building adaptive capacity in Sydney


Actors


15 local governments in coastal Sydney


Context for adaptation


Climate risk management is one of many responsibilities of local government


Multiple constraints impede action, necessitating a systems perspective


Knowledge


Vulnerability to climate change (exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity)


Mental models of adaptation within local governments


Interviews with key informants regarding constraints and opportunities


Outcomes


Media attention, particularly around coastal vulnerability


Pursuit of formal adaptation planning by some local governments


Project raised awareness of the potential for local, bottom
-
up knowledge generation


Adaptation in the Australian wine industry


Actors


Small, medium, and large growers and producers


Context for adaptation


Viticulture is a climate
-
constrained industry, with strong attachment to place


There are limits to incremental adaptation, which vary among different actors


Knowledge


Management practices, marketing, contracts between growers and producers


Observed regional climate variability/change and regional climate projections


Risk assessments for different grape varieties


Outcomes


Wide variety of responses among different actors


Evidence of transformative adaptations as well as incremental approaches


Knowledge constraints make transformational change risky (e.g.,
Kates

et al., 2012)


Our case studies reflect differential
progress toward adaptation among actors

Awareness
raising

Capacity
building

Incremental
adjustment

Transformational
change

UK Water
Utilities

Sydney Local
Governments

Australian
Wine

Industry

This differential progress does not necessarily appear to be
attributed to the level of scientific investment

Emerging themes regarding success


While adaptation framing influences the nature of the
science that is conducted, but not necessarily its success


Adaptation is a change process for which there are
gradients of success


We’ve been effective at stimulating learning, and building capacity


Implementation of substantive adaptation actions appears constrained
by factors that are unrelated to our science


Success is often dependent upon knowledge integration


Adaptation science has to be conducted in recognition of
production/management
systems


Adaptation can be risky


We have to address the risks of action as well as of inaction

Thank You

Benjamin L. Preston

Deputy Director

Climate Change Science Institute

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

prestonbl@ornl.gov