MEDIATION output (D1.3)
Overview on selected output from MEDIATION
Select deliverable number:
D1.3: Report on synthesis of adaption lessons learnt, including a review of recent impact / vulnerability / adaptation studies and ex post assessment of policy context, methods adopted and outputs, to learn lessons for applicability for the case studies and the overall project
Deliverable 1.3 provides a review of existing climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation studies, focusing on policy assessments.
The paper has reviewed a number of European, National and Regional studies. It has first considered the objectives of these various assessments. This reveals a wide range of different objectives, which reflect evolving policy questions over time. The objectives of the studies also determine the type of information needed, the outputs, and the methods used. This is highlighted as a key issue for the common platform and the clearing house, i.e. there is a challenge in meeting various user needs and answering different policy questions.
The review has evaluated the studies against the climate assessment typology used by the IPCC AR4 WGII (Carter et al, 2007). This shows that the majority of national studies in Europe and OCED countries have been built around scenario based ‘impact assessment’, i.e. scientific-based assessments. Earlier impact assessments provided information to raise awareness on the potential impacts of climate change. More recent studies look at the justification for mitigation and the assessment of economic costs of climate change. Recent studies have also started to consider climate model uncertainty. However, the focus of these national impact studies has not been on adaptation, which is generally presented as a description or list of (technical) responses. They are therefore of limited use for informing adaptation policy.
There has also been some policy interest in ‘vulnerability assessment’ and vulnerability indicators, with a number of European studies. These have tended to focus on geographically mapped outputs to show distributional patterns. They often combine underlying elements to provide an overall index of vulnerability. Such approaches have been the subject of recent criticism, yet these outputs continue to be of interest to policy makers. This raises a question for the common platform on whether it is appropriate to provide this vulnerability information, or instead to try to make users aware of some of the concerns and improve best practice.
More recently, the policy focus has switched to adaptation, and there are examples of recent national studies which have adaptation as the main objective. There is also a recent focus to assess the economic costs (and benefits) of adaptation. However, the current European and national studies still do not adopt all the elements of the ‘adaptation assessment’ method described by Carter et al., which to date have only been demonstrated at the project level. Many of these adaptation assessment projects have a similar framing. They focus on the near-term and have a strong policy element, recognizing the need to ground assessment in current sectoral policy. They consider adaptation as a process as well as an outcome, considering institutions and governance. They have a greater focus on building capacity, rather than just considering technical adaptation options. Most importantly, they adopt a framework of decision making under uncertainty and adaptive management. A number of current (on-going) national level assessments are starting to adopt these principles for national strategies.
The study has also reviewed examples where national level assessments have been repeated over time. This allows a more thorough evaluation and reveals important information on how assessments and methods have changed over time. As well a move over time to adaptation orientated analysis, the review also shows a greater consideration of cross-sectoral and indirect effects in later cycles and a greater focus on policy relevant analysis. However, there are limited examples of continuous or ex post policy evaluation (lessons learned) in these repeated cycles, and this is highlighted as an area for additional guidance in the platform.
Finally, the study has considered these findings in the light of the Mediation case studies and common platform, identifying a number of issues that will need consideration as the project progresses. Perhaps the key issue is that different policy questions require different information, so that all of the information across the impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessment methods will have relevance, There is therefore a need to consider how to direct users to the(appropriate) information of most use.