Framings of Climate Change Adaptation

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Cutting the Adaptation Cake
Numerous different ways of understanding approaches to CCA. ‡ The following is a conceptual technique to discuss approaches that are highly overlapping.
Predict & Provide Climate Risk Management Resilience Root Causes of Vulnerability A and B

IPCC Standard Approaches or µTop Down¶ IPCC Integrated Approaches IPCC Vulnerability Approaches or µBottom Up¶


Predict and Provide

Predict and Provide: Overview
‡ Vulnerability arising from biophysical/natural/ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

structural factors Adaptation to external factors Employs climatology, meteorology, natural hazards management, engineering, positivistic Long term perspective Based on hazards and exposure Top down

Predict and Provide: Example of Tools
‡ Climate Change Scenarios ‡ Modelling

Predict and Provide: Benefits
‡ Impacts felt relatively quickly ‡ Easier to manage, monitor and execute ‡ In certain cases these are the last line of


Predict and Provide: View of Uncertainty
‡ Minimising/overcoming uncertainty through

focus on sophisticated modelling and scenarios.

Predict and Provide: Examples of Practice
‡ UNEP and ICIMOD: Draining glacial

lakes through using engineering and hard solutions
‡ Governments: Migration due to CC

impacts from island countries to New Zealand
‡ Tidal walls to protect against sea level

rise found across the globe

Predict and Provide: Critique
‡ Usually overlooks community priorities ‡ Does not consider social, cultural and political

factors ‡ Usually centralised ‡ Sectoral / operates silos ‡ Rigid, does not acknowledge µunknown unknowns¶

Climate Risk Management

Climate Risk Management: Overview
‡ Vulnerability arising from biophysical/natural/ structural

factors ‡ Process of incorporating climate information into decisions ‡ Managing current climate risk as a step in managing longer term risk from climate change ‡ Focus on analysing climate information

Difference from Predict and Provide‡ P&P is longer term, led by the timescales given by the climate change scenario models ‡ CRM is more aligned to timescales associated with existing decision making frameworks

Climate Risk Management: Example of Tools
‡ Orchid ‡ Various mainstreaming


Climate Risk Management: Benefits
‡ Less risk of maladaptation due to integration of

info on climate variability

Works with past, present and future variability to minimise risk

‡ Only adaptation option in certain situations

Climate Risk Management: View of Uncertainty
‡ Focus on minimising uncertainty by integrating

past, present and future climate change information.

Climate Risk Management: Examples of Practice
‡ IFRC: use of improved meteorological

information for improved DRR and prepositioning relief stocks.
‡ ADB: Integrating information on CC

impacts on cyclone, wind speed and sea levels into design of breakwater.
‡ Kenya: seasonal forecasts allow farmers

to reduce exposure; longer term trends allow farmers to gauge robustness of investments

Climate Risk Management: Critique
‡ Leads to not planning for failure ‡ Does not engage with unknown unknowns ‡ Stresses on climate information rather than

community priorities
‡ Usually top down and centralised ‡ Usually sectoral ‡ Based on exposure

Root Causes of Vulnerability (A) Social/Cultural

Social/Cultural: Overview
‡ Vulnerability arising from social/cultural/ factors ‡ Adaptation as process of engaging with internal factors ‡ Employs social scientific approaches drawing from

community & participatory development, sociology, anthropology, normative
‡ Adaptation determined by analysing socio-economic

inequity, gender disparities, class, community empowerment
‡ Based on sensitivity

Social and Cultural: Example of Tools
‡ Vulnerability Capacity

‡ Participatory Rural Appraisal

Social/Cultural: Benefits
‡ Potential for structural transformation ‡ Wide ranging development gains ‡ More room to accommodate community

‡ Credence to usually ignored social/ cultural


Social/Cultural: View of uncertainty
‡ No overt engagement with uncertainty

Assumption that CC brings uncertainties to any setting Seeks to buffer against it by working to improve skewed social and cultural dynamics


Social/ Cultural: Example of Practice
‡ UNDP: Community development

committees, community participation (including women) , education, information and networking as adaptation
‡ Oxfam: Gender empowerment as

‡ Cordaid: mapping the vulnerabilities

and studying the coping mechanisms of Dalits

Social/ Cultural: Critique
‡ Time consuming: benefits and adaptation

witnessed over long time scales
‡ Arduous: meticulous research and planning

required to understand community setting
‡ Highly relative: each setting requires a unique

combination of activities.
‡ Maladadptive/ investing too much in one reality

Root Causes of Vulnerability (B) Economic/Political

Economic/Political: Overview
‡ Overlap with previous approach but separated for gaining a

better understanding
‡ Adaptation requires engagement with problems existing

within a system
‡ Vulnerability arising from political, economic and institutional

‡ Economics, econometrics; political and institutional analyses ‡ Based on sensitivity

Economic/Political: Benefit
‡ Potential for structural transformation ‡ Leads to CCA and reduced poverty ‡ Realistic as it acknowledges the importance of

politics which is usually ignored

Economic/Political: Example of Tools
‡ Econometrics ‡ Livelihood assessments ‡ Political economy analysis ‡ Growth diagnostics ‡ Drivers of change

Economic/Political: View of Uncertainty
‡ Not centrally concerned with mapping and

reducing uncertainty but with correcting skewed political-economic structures

Economic/Political: Example of Practice

Lending conditional on adoption of hybrid crop varieties (saline resistant) for boosting crop production

‡ World Bank: Working with famers to

modernize irrigation, improve water use and increase famer¶s access to technology, financing and markets

Economic/Political: Critique
‡ Complex and time consuming ‡ In focussing on economic analyses can

sometimes ignore social and cultural causes/solutions
‡ Not effective in certain situations


Resilience: Overview
‡ Borrows from other approaches but some innovative

‡ Key tenets include: flexibility (rather than optimising

resources), preparedness, redundancy, no stable state, effective learning
‡ Other characteristics include: high level of diversity,

effective governance and institutions, accepting uncertainty, community involvement, social values, equity, cross scalar perspective
‡ Long term

Resilience: Benefits
‡ Transformative potential ‡ Leads to resilience to various disturbances

which may impact development
‡ Comprehensive as it acknowledges dynamism

in socio-ecological systems

Resilience: View of Uncertainty
‡ Seeks to help systems actively embrace

and work with uncertainty

Acknowledges that there are µunknown unknowns¶

Resilience: Examples of Practice
‡ Rockefeller Foundation: ACCCRN ‡ DFID: Ethiopia ‡ Nepal: NAPA+ and PPCR

Resilience: Example of Tools
‡ Shared Learning Dialogues:

Resilience: Critique
‡ Lack of evidence ‡ Wide ranging and it is unclear at what stage a state of

resilience is achieved
‡ Resilience discussed in the context of systems but

unclear what the limits of a system are
‡ Resilience increasingly used as catch all for adaptation

For further discussionExample of flexible, integrated approach :

‡ Thames 2100 project:Flood risk management
actions in the short (next 25 years), medium (the following 35 years) and long term (to the end of the century). Also indicates how actions would need to change on changing predictions. (Hybrid, anomalous approach).

For further discussion....
‡ Low carbon development: involves generating energy from low-carbon sources (e.g. renewables), protecting carbon stores (e.g. forests), encouraging the development of low-carbon technologies and increasing energy security. ‡ Harnessing synergies with CCA: possible win-win solutions- Eg. Adapting to increased heat by cooling buildings through improved shading. Eg. Community forestry for improved livelihood and mitigation.

For further discussion....
Work in progressTransformative



Minimising Damage

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