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Panel hosted by MEDIATION at the RESILIENCE2011 Conference (

Introduction of a new research initiative on "Adaptation Tipping Points"

  • To be discussed at the Resilience 2011 Conference, Session: 15th March, at 3:45 -5:15pm Parallel Sessions 3, Room: Navajo, RM 240
  • To result in: journal special issue (editors: Saskia Werners - Wageningen UR, Stefan Pfenninger - IIASA)

There is a demand for concepts and tools to assess and communicate the implications of climate change for decision-making. Concerned citizens increasingly pose questions as to whether current management practices are able to cope with climate change and increased climate variability or whether alternative strategies are needed. The panel aims to contribute to the debate on adaptation to climate change by introducing the concept of ?adaptation tipping points?. An adaptation tipping point is defined as a situation where a socio-political threshold is reached, due to climate change induced changes in the bio-physical system. Socio-political thresholds here include formal policy objectives as well as informal societal preferences, such as willingness to invest. In particular, the panel will propose a research agenda for exploring adaptation tipping points as a concept for assessing and communicating the implications of climate change.

The panel discusses methodological issues (how to define, identify and quantify adaptation tipping points), case evidence of adaptation tipping points, and potential methods for dealing with or exploiting tipping point behaviour. The panel aims to lay a foundation for a debate with a larger audience on the merits and limitations of addressing tipping points in climate adaptation. Thus MEDIATION hopes to contribute to the ongoing debate on adaptation and tipping points dynamics and to build a community that actively seeks to deal with adaptation tipping points in socio-ecological systems. MEDIATION invites scholars from across the world to participate in our exploration, to be synthesised in a journal special issue.

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