When long-lived facilities are being planned or infrastructure is being renovated or replaced, investment in anticipatory adaptation is most likely to be justified. The method presented in Chapter 33, the section ''Making Decisions in an Uncertain World," illustrates the thinking needed for decisions about incorporating the possibility of climatic change into design. Such methods need to be elaborated.
It is not only functional facilities such as airports and water supply systems that may warrant modification or protection for the contingency of climate change. Every culture treasures buildings, neighborhoods, monuments, and other features of its heritage that may be affected by changing climate or rising seas. These structures in some cases have survived hundreds or thousands of years. Climate change joins a long list of threats to conservation of our physical and cultural heritage. Studies need to be undertaken in this area. It can be expected that investments will be justified to assure the longevity of our cultural heritage in the face of climate change.
People in industrial countries with diversified economies are best equipped to cope with the vagaries of climate change. By developing the necessary technology, they have found how to survive and flourish in almost all climates. By contrast, people in poor and small countries often have difficulty in adapting to even minor environmental hazards. Their primary need is for the development of strong and diverse economies when this can be done. But this cannot be achieved quickly. As we share a global interest in adaptation to climate change, we need to help others by finding means and setting conditions in which to transfer resources, knowledge, and technology and to ensure that the recipients can make good use of them.