BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai

Objective 4: Support decision making for successful and effective adaptation

This objective is devoted to adaptation and its enabling policies. Adaptation to climate change refers to “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli”, while adaptation policies instead refer to the design and implementation of specific instruments to prepare us for the changes that are already occurring or that are expected to occur. Together with contributions from other Research Lines, Objective 4 will be mainly addressed by the Adaptation Lab RL with a focus on adaptation economics, adaptation policy analysis, climatic risk assessment, adaptation tracking and climate resilience in health, water, land use, coastal, urban, infrastructures and agriculture, focusing on impacts of heatwaves, flooding, droughts, SLR and others. For this purpose, the methodologies applied include: benefit-cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, risk analysis, stochastic modelling, real options analysis, fore-sighting and scenario analysis, policy analysis, hindsight assessment, indicator-based assessments, systems dynamics and conceptual mapping. There are five projects ongoing (RESIN, OASIS, ALICE, WISE-UP, INHERIT), one granted (COACH).


Activity 4.1: Understanding risks and vulnerability.

This refers to developing a good understanding of climate impacts related to sea-level rise, changes in hydrological regimes and temperatures as well as the exposure and vulnerability of social, environmental and economic systems to these impacts. The output will work on the design of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to address the associated hazards, exposures and vulnerabilities. Integrating wider concepts of risk into decision-making processes and enhancing the governance of risk will require - in close connection with Activity 4.4. - the development of more sophisticated treatments of uncertainty. (Lead: I. Galarraga)

Activity 4.2: Designing and assessing adaptation policies, instruments and solutions.

Developing effective policies and solutions that enhance resilience and that support adaptation processes will require analyzing economic and financial instruments, comparing different policy options (in terms of costs, effectiveness, equity, sustainability, maladaptation among others) and understanding the mechanisms of policy design. This activity is intended to support the adaptation planning phase in specific regions and contexts that are also exploring how to address the non-market and non-instrumental effects of different adaptation options within policy appraisal. This output will also be closely connected to 4.3. In addition, a strong focus will be put on mainstreaming adaptation into development planning more widely. That is, in linking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries and sustainable development indicators in developed ones. As one specific issue, the special emphasis on health (Lead by A. Chiabai) will continue including interaction among environmental stressors (such air pollution and heatwaves), lifestyle and behavior aspects in alleviating impacts and increasing population resilience, pursuing strong interlinks with other sectors (such as food and agriculture, energy, transport, natural ecosystems) and incorporating aspects related to social equity. (Leads: A. Markandya, A. Chiabai and E. Sainz)

Activity 4.3: Measuring adaptation progress and understanding adaptation dynamics.

As adaptation policies are implemented ?including investments, programs, and actions?there is a need to measure whether these investments are effective in reducing vulnerability and building resilience. This requires methods, tools, and frameworks to track the actual progress on adaptation. This information is highly relevant for funding agencies and for governments at different scales (regional, national, International) looking to prioritize their investments for effective adaptation and to define their strategies to access climate adaptation funding. We will focus our work on developing robust metrics, comparable baselines, standardized approaches to data collection, and solid guidance for the evaluation of adaptation progress (adaptation tracking) and for supporting decision making under deep uncertainty (in connection to activity 4.1). This will also include improving understanding of past and current adaptation dynamics. (Lead: M. Olazabal)

Activity 4.4: Understanding the implications of uncertainty.

Traditional risk assessment is based on expected utility. Here we will adopt stochastic modelling approaches to estimate damages from extreme events, focusing on tail (low probability-high impact) events. Real Options Analysis will highlight the value of building flexibility into adaptation policies and of learning. Global sensitivity analysis and scenario discovery will assess sensitivity of outcomes towards uncertainty in model parameters. These quantitative approaches will be enhanced by methods to elicit risk perceptions and attitudes of the involved actors. The output also includes qualitative approaches (e.g. hindsight assessment) to examine how sources of deep uncertainty lead to limitations for predictability. This output will be connected to 4.2. (Leads:  M. Newman and L.M. Abadie)


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