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MEDIATION output (D2.1)

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D2.1: Approaches to climate change impact, adaptation and vulnerability assessment: towards a classification framework to serve decision-making

 

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Abstract

This paper offers a review of research approaches, methods and tools that are available for assessing the potential impacts of climate change on natural and human systems, for identifying vulnerable sectors and populations, and for examining and evaluating adaptation options. Assessments of climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (CCIAV) are essential for informing decisions on the design and implementation of adaptation strategies for responding to future climate change. After a short recap in section 2 of the historical evolution of approaches from the scenario-driven impact assessments of the early 1980s to the adaptation-orientated, risk management frameworks of today, sections 3-6 present reviews of four major approaches to CCIAV: Vulnerability Assessment, Impact Assessment, Adaptation Assessment and Integrated Assessment. Each of these approaches is divided into important sub-categories, and some examples of the methods and tools that might accompany each of them are provided. Section 7 then takes up the challenge of devising an organisational framework for classifying CCIAV assessments to support decision-making for climate change adaptation. This comprises a simple checklist of attributes that would need to be considered in an assessment in order to fulfil a given purpose defined by the expected beneficiaries of the work. The purpose of the assessment determines the emphasis that is required; its dimensions influence the suitability of approaches, methods, tools and information to be deployed. The utility of this framework remains to be tested using case studies from the project and elsewhere. An eventual goal is to map out possible pathways leading to the development of a common platform for knowledge sharing.

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