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Science based planning

Science-based planning

Conventional national level approaches to planning adaptation usually rely on expert technical advice and credible science from authoritative information providers, such as the Global Climate Models (GCMs), engineering and physical sciences. They often result in actions that reduce physical vulnerability and solutions are often technical- or engineering-based. Climate Risk Management utilises such knowledge to reduce the negative impacts of interventions but decisions are often taken in isolation from other knowledge sources and do not incorporate opportunities for review over time.

However, the uncertainty in climate modelling and forecasting, as well as the dynamic nature of socio-economic change, means that there is incomplete understanding of both the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. As a result, planning adaptation to climate change is a difficult and multi-dimensional task. Outputs from climate models (‘scenarios’) provide a framework of possible futures against which adaptation planners can test options and make decisions. Yet planners and policymakers have little assurance that targeted solutions to specific climate-related problems will prove adequate over different time spans.

Decision-making processes are therefore often centred on low regrets options, but the economics of investing in adaptation demands that they should also be cost-effective and efficient. But adaptation planning also needs to account for uncertainty and recognise potential tipping points for system change. Uncertainty cannot be a justification for inaction.

The ripple effect of impacts across sectors – health, telecommunications, forestry, insurance, and so on – demands coordination for both adaptation and low carbon planning both between and within sectors. Yet often the synergies are not recognised. For low carbon planning and emissions reduction it is critical that economic growth is decoupled from energy intensity. In order to generate the political will for such action it is also important that the multiple drivers and co-benefits of low carbon are recognised within different sectors of the state. Strategies are currently framed in the context of national goals, global agreements and scientific projections rather than by a drive to shift development pathways and capitalise on the co-benefits of low carbon for sustainable and pro-poor development.

Harmonising climate risk management: adaptation screening and assessment tools for development co-operation
Development Assistance Committee, OECD 2011
This paper examines climate risk screening and assesses tools and approaches available to integrate climate change in development co-operation. It focuses on growing user experiences, tool proliferation and the potential for harmonisa...
Shaping climate resilient development
Global Environment Facility 2009
This paper presents an assessment of climate risks from the existing climate as well as from a range of scenarios. It assesses the expected annual loss to economies from existing climate patterns, a projection of the extent to which f...
'How can developing country decision makers incorporate uncertainty about climate risks into existing planning and policymaking processes?' World Resources Report
World Resources Institute, Washington DC 2011
This report examines how national governments can make effective decisions in a changing climate. It uses twelve case studies of national-level decision making processes that already manage short- and long-term risks within existing p...
Current developments in pilot Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions of developing countries (NAMAs)
H Wang-Helmreich (ed); W. Sterk (ed); T Wehnert (ed); C. Arens (ed) / Wuppertal Institute 2011
This paper analyses current developments in 16 pilot Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) which are currently under development. It presents the geographical and sectoral distribution of the 16 NAMAs and compares them to ...
Paving the way for LCDS
X. van Tilburg (ed); L. W├╝rtenberger (ed); H. de Coninck (ed) 2011
Low-carbon development strategies (LCDS) have attracted interest in the climate discourse as a soft alternative to voluntary or obligatory greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in developing countries, many of which have taken the...
Low-Emission Development Strategies (LEDS): technical institutional and policy lessons
C. Clapp (ed); G. Briner (ed); K. Karousakis (ed) / OECD Development Centre 2010
Mitigation and adaptation climate change policy cuts across all sectors of the economy and broader national priorities, such as poverty alleviation, sustainable development and economic growth. This paper outlines the evolution of the...