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10 Synthesis of Key Questions for the Workshop At the outset of the workshop, members of the organizing panel agreed to listen throughout the presentations and discussions for responses to the key questions that were identified in advance (see Box II-1). What follows are their syntheses of the responses they heard. INITIATING ADAPTATION EFFORTS Richard Andrews University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Two key questions were posed to the participants about initiating ad- aptation efforts: 1. What are the main barriers to initiating adaptation efforts, and what has been effective at overcoming them? 2. How and under what conditions have climate change consider- ations been successfully integrated into the normal activities of regional or sectoral risk management organizations? Andrews heard workshop participants identify several kinds of bar- riers that can prevent initiating adaptation efforts. These include barriers internal to each decision maker and to other actors (e.g., attitudes, incor- rect knowledge) and barriers external to them (e.g., lack of resources, lack of authority or jurisdiction to act, misaligned incentives). Barriers can be found at the levels of individuals, of organizations, and of communities, 12
10 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES as well as at higher levels of regional to global governance. Although it may be tempting to identify such barriers as âmaladaptations,â more often they represent the legacy of adaptations that were successful in the past. Individuals who now benefit from them are therefore reluctant to give them up. At the organizational and community levels, barriers include inertia and aversion to change, low public awareness, old battle lines, traditional orga- nizational missions, and organizational âsilos,â among others. Misaligned incentives are important but are not the only important barriers. He also heard several creative ideas and recurrent themes about ways of overcoming these barriers. Some lessons can be learned from analogous fields, such as public health. One key step to overcome barriers is to integrate the responsibility for considering potential climate change impacts and proposing alternatives for adaptation into the core missions and operating decision processes of all organizations that might be affected. Doing this is essential in order to identify for decision makers (and the public) how adaptation to anticipated climate change is important to their core responsibilities and how it might necessitate different choices than would have been made in the past. This process of regularizing attention to the adaptation issue is similar to the process pioneered by the environmental impact statement requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act 40 years ago. A second theme is that, in addition to integrating climate change into routine organizational decision processes, there may also be the need for a high-level convening entity with the responsibility to address interagency and interjurisdictional conflicts and coordination needs. A third recurrent theme is that empowering bottom-up initiatives and promoting peer-to-peer learning among them is a key to more widespread commitment to adaptation initiatives. Decision makers in cities, communi- ties, and businesses are far more likely to trust and adopt the approaches of successful peers facing similar issues, who can speak to the need, the benefits, and methods of implementation, than to trust officials at higher levels of government or academics. The group heard repeatedly about the importance of empowering bottom-up responses, for example by cities, as well as by other localized and regional networks of stakeholders and scientistsâfor example, initiatives of the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Fourth, windows of opportunity are important in framing proposals for change and overcoming barriers, and it is important to be prepared to use such opportunities effectively when they arise. Localized or isolated disasters may be leading indicators of more serious potential impacts and patterns of impacts that may occur in the future if preventive adaptation does not occur. A central argument for preventive adaptation is to diminish
11 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP the need for highly expensive postdisaster response and persistent disrup- tive changes. Fifth, there is a need to reframe climate change adaptation as oppor- tunities to protect and achieve commonly shared values for the future of a community rather than as threats to entrenched values and interests. There is also a need to bring new actors into the process who can help infuse new ways of thinking and generate creative solutions. In answer to the second core question, one key factor for success in adaptation initiatives is buy-in by high-level local leadership, often result- ing from peer-to-peer learning among such leaders. A second is promoting interaction among technical and stakeholder organizations to integrate the best knowledge that is available both from experts and from the communi- ties affected by climate change and adaptation measures. A critical third factor is continuous engagement with adaptive communities rather than one-time studies, rooting adaptation in local areas and recognizing and using relevant local knowledge, which may be as important, or more im- portant, than downscaled global models and other more general expertise. A key value of social science in these processes is to help all participants visualize options and consider their costs and consequences. Finally, it is important to start by focusing on a few immediate decision issues that link to community priorities and that can be acted on immediately with avail- able information, for which the consideration of climate change could make a significant difference to the outcome. Finally, Andrews identified a number of unanswered questions: â¢ ow can action be induced among cities and organizations that are H not yet active? â¢ ow does one deal with equity questions and with highly vulner- H able populationsâboth by engaging them in decisions and by ad- dressing their interests and needs? â¢ ow can long-term adaptive institutions be created, such as long- H term insurance contracts? â¢ ow can people get default options right, to facilitate both organi- H zational and individual behavior patterns that are most consistent with effective adaptation? In the discussion that followed, Cynthia Rosenzweig noted that having an ongoing series of foundational reports, such as the U.S. National Assess- ment of Climate Change, can help bring information into the system. Kristie Ebi said that a lot of work needs to be done in the scientific community, which does not understand risk management. For example, in general, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change still
12 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES says to wait for more certainty and does not understand what Working Group II needs. JoAnn Carmin commented that much of the discussion wrestles with the problem of diffusion but noted that adaptation also requires innovation before diffusion can happen. Maria Blair said that the questions are great, but there is nothing to manage yet. There was division in the room about whether anything is known about how to make adaptation happen. Questions were asked about what is being managed and why. Adaptation is happening, and, in the United Kingdom, people are even thinking about ways to adapt to a world that is 4 degrees Celsius warmer than before. Such specificity is not evident in this country, where policies have rarely designated an explicit end point to manage to or for. She questioned whether, if something like a 4 degree temperature increase is anticipated, âmanagingâ is even a realis- tic idea. What to do with that kind of a transformation is not addressed. Some literatures talk about ânavigatingâ transitions. She noted that there is a history of management approaches that prop up maladaptive systems. People assume that they can do better in the future, but is there any evi- dence? Maybe it would be better to focus more on getting money, technol- ogy, and information to the people who will be adapting. She identified the adaptation problem as a collective action problem, involving more than just choices by individual actors, and suggested that institutional change is therefore a way to proceed. She had not heard in the workshop about how to manage institutions. There may be much better thinking about short- term than longer term adaptations, but people need to get over short-term thinking, she said. It is not clear which short-term adaptations will be maladaptive in the long term. For example, if there is dramatic, abrupt sea level rise, almost everything now being considered is maladaptive. COORDINATING ADAPTATION EFFORTS Stewart Cohen Environment Canada and University of British Columbia Three key questions were posed to the participants about coordinating adaptation efforts: 1. What strategies or methods have been effective for coordinat- ing adaptation efforts across scales (e.g., national, regional, local, individual)? 2. What strategies or methods have been effective for coordinating ad- aptation efforts across sectors (e.g., government, private, nonprofit, community)?
1 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP 3. How should stakeholders and the public be engaged in adaptation efforts? Cohen began by noting a set of coordination issues that had been raised at the workshop: creating common space; building bridges and/or webs; the issue of what to adapt to and who will be doing it (future cli- mate change is different from past variability, and coordination will have to include new actors); the need for champions of coordination to create dialogue (e.g., among government agencies, trade associations, specific government programs, such as RISA, collaborations among cities); a need to integrate climate change adaptation with long-established hazards and disaster research networks; and a need for effective flow of climate change information to stakeholders. Cohen said that a participatory approach is important and implies a complicated set of links, which involve a variety of translators, many of whom are practitioners who use their tools of practice to inform the stake- holders they work for. The tool developers themselves may or may not be good translators. He suggested that group-based model building could be a useful option to combine technical information and experiential knowledge. This may be more attractive than having people experiment with a tool that someone else has built. However, it needs a platform to make it possible, and the feasibility of the approach will vary depending on the backgrounds and skills of participants. He noted that a lot was said at the workshop about the role of net- works in building webs. Building webs requires a two-way process, not one-way outreach. Finding the right partners can be a problem. In some networks, as suggested by NOAAâs RISA centers, experts can become ex- tension specialists for local adaptation. The language of networks is help- ful, even for people who do not think about the morphology of network structures, because it justifies the roles of coordination enablers. Who will be an enabler of change is not known in advance, but the community may know who can fill that role. Cohen noted that âmainstreamingâ is a means objective, not an ends objective. Dangers in mainstreaming include the potential to disempower people and to give too much attention to sources of funding. He also said that coordination may hide underlying sources of conflict. It can be useful to turn a conflict into an argument, in which people can learn from each other. Coordination may help by bringing different actors into the room. How can coordination improve response capacity? One way is through shared learning (aimed at solving a problem, using local knowledge, and translating information from unfamiliar sources). Another way is to build institutional memory of information exchanges, which does not automati-
14 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES cally happen with one-time projects. A third way is through dialogue in adaptation research efforts, which can go beyond outreach and opinion surveys, especially if the dialogue is facilitated by local partners. This can include both group-based model building and model-enabled dialogue. In the discussion that followed, Ebi noted that there are some strong ad- aptation networks internationally that are developing institutional memory. Rosenzweig said local practitioners cannot be counted on to remain in place, so there is a need to leave something behind for local organizations. INFORMING ADAPTATION EFFORTS Michele Betsill Colorado State University Two key questions were posed to the participants about informing adaptation efforts: 1. What methods have been successful in providing needed informa- tion to risk managers who must cope with climate change? 2. How should efforts to inform climate adaptation characterize risk and uncertainty about future climate and other processes affecting climate risk? Regarding successful methods, Betsill concluded that the key is process, not products. However, the process needs to be organized around a task or problem; has to be sustained in order to enable learning, build trust, and allow for updating of information; and has to involve the users of informa- tion in partnership with researchers and agency officials. Information pro- duction has to respond to usersâ needs, with coproduction of knowledge. Sometimes the scientific credibility of information is less important than issues of trust and salience. A second lesson is that one size does not fit all. Information products are needed, and many types of information need to be presented in many ways. Regarding ways to characterize risk and uncertainty, Betsill said she had not heard much about this. She noted that people do know how to deal with uncertainty. The workshop heard about the importance of providing choices and empowering peopleâgiving them a range of things to do and ways to think about the choices. In the discussion, Kirstin Dow noted some new dimensions in inform- ing adaptation decisions. There are new forms of technology, such as new social media. It is possible, using the new media, to talk with people in multiple locations to take advantage of connectivity among local places. Several participants engaged in a discussion of the characterization of
1 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP uncertainty in informing adaptation. Michael Savonis said that climate sci- entists are very conservative about drawing conclusions and, from a policy makerâs perspective, he preferred that they convey both the uncertainty and what they do know. He realizes that there is a very strong element of judgment, but decision makers rely on scientific input that uses judgment because of what lies behind it. Scientists need to explain why they believe what they believe. Decision makers want more than just âwhat the model says.â They also want scientistsâ evaluations of what the model says. An- other participant noted, however, that modelers are often not the same people who collected the data, so they may not know how to evaluate the strength of evidence for certain model outputs. Cohen commented that there are uncertainties both in models and in the translation of models for decision makers. Models need to be translated carefully. For example, timber supply is not the same as the biomass of the wood, and water supply is not the same as stream flow. The challenge is to connect model results to decision needsâto translate them into terms the decision maker understands. That translation process is currently poorly understood. Dow commented that some decision makers she knows actually want numerical probabilities. Amy Luers agreed, noting that with climate change, uncertainty has different forms: what can be influenced (e.g., emissions) and what cannot (e.g., climate sensitivity). SCIENCE NEEDS FOR ADAPTATION EFFORTS Maria Carmen Lemos Three key questions were posed about science needs for informing adaptation efforts: 1. What new social science knowledge is needed to develop a national adaptation strategy? 2. What metrics and indicators are needed to support adaptation deci- sions (e.g., indicators of vulnerability, resilience, adaptive potential, effectiveness of adaptation efforts)? 3. What are the key needs for databases, scenario development, and modeling? Lemos noted that there have been many efforts to develop science priorities for human dimensions of climate change, including at least three recent National Research Council reports. They all agree that more social science is needed. This workshop is an opportunity to identify which items
16 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES on the researchersâ lists correspond to what decision makers say they need. The way the decision makers phrase their needs is illuminating. One issue is how to make decision makers care, given such barriers to action as social inertia and the complexity of government. Related to this is the question of how science can be used to mobilize people. Lemos heard the government officials saying that decision makers care about thresholds and tipping points, potential catastrophe, security and national interest, the linkage between climate change, as well as things of concern on a day-to- day basis, win-win situations (e.g., responses that create jobs and wealth). They said that decision makers care about setting priorities for their invest- ments. Even if the concept of adaptive capacity is not ideal, it does help to decide where to invest. They also care about questions of when people need to know what and of how to learn from experience. Finally, there was an expressed need during the workshop for scientists to communicate what they know better: synthesizing it to make it easy for decision makers to use it. The scientistsâ agenda represents only the group that is present, but there are some frequently repeated terms: the roles of values, beliefs, and attitudes in action and inaction; networks; the roles of formal and informal institutions, those that like to change or resist change, and effects of rules on action; surveying frameworks for thinking about adaptation and car- rying out metastudies; understanding the evolution of preferences; social inertia, trade-offs, the role of management and governance, the organiza- tion of adaptation options, and ways to evaluate choices. The big themes on the scientistsâ research agenda are how to understand system change from a social and ecological point of view and how to apply knowledge of social change to climate. In the discussion, Roger Kasperson characterized these comments as identifying important questions about which quite a bit is known. With sufficient resources, someone could pull this knowledge out of the research literature to make it useful to decision makers. The research community cannot give pithy answers to complex questions, but it can identify impor- tant topic areas that can provide something to the decision makers and it can tell them where to find out more. Lemos added that the research com- munity could grow very quickly if it attracts researchers who know about poverty, preferences, and other fundamental social science topics and get them thinking about climate issues. Kasperson commented that the idea of good communication as two- way was settled in the social science literature 30 years ago, but that, except for the RISA Program, it is still not understood in practice. Instead, many people talk about outreach, rather than about inreach, and get nowhere. Conversations about informing are still centered on dissemination and influ-
1 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP ence. Susanne Moser said that both government officials and scientists are trained just to get their messages out and suggested that part of the problem is that students have not been properly educated. Another participant cited the work of Ralph Keeney and others on value-tree analysis, a technique that gets values on the table as a basis for discussion and for increasing understanding and that works by forcing two-way communication. Helen Ingram noted that issues get on the agenda if there are scheduled decisions to make and if they are linked with social mobilization. She added that researchers do not normally write to political imperatives. Neil Leary added that communication has worked fairly well when there is a common task that requires iteration. In contrast, climate scientists and risk research scientists talk to each other about what they want from each other, and progress is not made. However, if such a discussion is part of a process with a goal and continues for a while, they can figure it out. Ashwini Chhatre said that collaboration can go too far, in the sense that legitimizing research only in terms of what decision makers want can lead to failure to do the basic research that is needed. Jamie Kruse said that one science need of importance to NOAA is to have good performance measures for adaptation. MANAGING ADAPTATION EFFORTS Susanne Moser Three key questions were posed about managing adaptation efforts: 1. How should a national climate adaptation effort set priorities across hazards, sectors, regions, and time? What criteria, and what processes, should be used? 2. What mechanisms can help make adaptation efforts adaptive? How can a system enable decision makers to learn efficiently from experience? 3. What additional capacity do federal agencies need to support ad- aptation and resilience? Moser began by recalling Blairâs comment that it may be premature to say much about how to âmanage adaptationâ because the nation is still at such an early stage in the adaptation process. Very few projects, communi- ties, or states have actually gotten to the point of implementing their plans or making actual changes on the ground. She also noted that perhaps it is difficult to decide where to focus a long-lasting, deliberately learning-oriented, iterative process, because deci- sion makers usually are distracted by having to deal with the crisis of the
1 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES day. Moreover, so many things are criticalâwater, coastal areas, food secu- rity, species protectionâthat both scientists and decision makers are hard pressed to say that one is more important than another. She pointed out, recalling Neil Adgerâs presentation, that the criteria to use for priority set- ting will be different depending on goals (e.g., reducing vulnerability versus efficient adaptation versus getting to system resilience). In the United States, she noted, people seem to be concerned mainly with efficient adaptation and are rarely concerned with the original meaning of resilience or with reducing differential vulnerability. She challenged Blair and Kathy Jacobs (who had emphasized different goals in their respective areas of work) to clarify for and among themselves (i.e., for the federal government) what they actually want to facilitate and support. Regarding ways to make adaptation more adaptive, Moser noted that the process needs to be deliberative, iterative, and well facilitated, with feedback and dense networks. But commitment, institutionalization, and leadership will also be necessary to make adaptation an ongoing consider- ation. Whereas it may have been possible to deal with problems once and for all in the past, a continually changing climate does not allow this luxury. She also noted that the workshop heard about the benefit of conflict as an opportunity to revisit issues. One way to institutionalize such ongoing processes is to change the expectations for professional performance that are embedded in job descriptions: from expectations for perfect, flawless, or successful outcomes to expectations for learning from past decisions. Ac- countability is one of the quickest ways to ensure that learning happens. On capacity needs, Moser pointed to Lemosâs list of components of adaptive capacity: human capital (educating the current and future gen- erations); information and technological resources; material resources and infrastructure (critical for functioning but possibly not necessary for adap- tation); social capital (e.g., more democratic forms of engagement in the adaptation process and trust, which is slow to build and quick to lose); political capital (the existence of visible leaders, which makes it easier for others to act); wealth and financial resources; and publicâprivate partner- ships as a mechanism. Moser noted that the experience from some of the early actors suggests that not all of these capacities are always necessary. Leaders and early adopters make do with what they have and position themselves for a longer term process that allows them to build capacities they do not currently have at a later time. She also recalled examples of institutions and entitlements that have created capacity but also gave people investments in the status quo that functioned as barriers to change rather than facilitating it. In the discussion that followed, a participant noted that, although there has been a lot of talk about adaptation planning, it is evaluation that is really important. Resources are needed for evaluation. Although this is
1 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP an issue in many other environmental management and change processes, it may be even more critical in the context of adaptation to a changing climate. The management tools also need to include professional standards and norms and regulatory requirements. Another participant added that more work is needed on measurement of adaptation success. Rosenzweig noted the importance of a conceptual frame that covers the many adaptive actions involved in managing a complex set of responses. For example, the adaptation process in New York City builds on Londonâs idea of flexible adaptation pathways, using a diagram showing acceptable risks and how climate change is leading beyond what is acceptable. This diagram is an important management tool both to convey the need and urgency of adaptation and to trigger changes in policy as certain thresholds are reached. Moreover, such a diagram can show, in a simple model, what mitigation and adaptation do and how they complement each other. A term like âclimate-resilient citiesââa common and galvanizing languageâis also important to facilitate action. COMMENTS ON MAJOR INSIGHTS AND ISSUES Thomas Dietz Dietz commented that behavioral and social science work on climate change adaptation needs to be in Pasteurâs quadrant (Stokes, 1997). It needs to contribute to fundamental understanding, and it needs to be useful. The field needs to keep addressing the fundamental questions that are special to this area. For example, there are normative questions about what people might lose as a result of climate change. Research on adaptation can de- velop understanding about what people want to preserve and do not want to lose. Also, this area can be an important test bed for theories of social change. Another big issue is risk. It is important to clarify the risks of climate change and bring in literature on how to deliberate about risk. Research needs to keep in mind the use of uncertainty as a political weapon. It is essential to know about how to identify and engage stakeholders and how to inform the codesign of processes to inform adaptation. Engagements in climate change adaptation should be treated as experiments and evaluated. People should be skeptical of claims of program success. Dietz also noted that new technologies will transform society and could also help to develop better data. There are also important issues about research methods, he said. A lot of good case-based studies were mentioned at the workshop. In addition, more comparative work and more meta-analysis are needed. A knowledge
140 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES base that derives from a multimethod, cumulative literature is not yet a reality. Funding is an important need. Social science funding has declined over the 20 years of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and this needs to be reversed. There is no routine forum like this workshop, in which so- cial scientists can talk to each other in depth to advance the science. This kind of problem-oriented forum is important because the social science disciplines tend to retard the process. Dietz pointed to the need to connect to the coupled natural and human systems work, such as is being supported by the National Science Founda- tion, and to human ecology and other disciplines that go beyond the social sciences. He said that networks are central, also pointing to a rich set of analytical tools that can be used as practical and theory-building tools. CONCLUDING DISCUSSION Kasperson invited each participant to identify one thing that should not be forgotten in the report of the workshop. Several comments addressed the needs for improving the theory and general understanding of adaptation. Adam Henry said it is very hard to make useful recommendations without a comprehensive theory of adapta- tion. What there are so far are some major categories of variables, not a theory. Kasperson agreed that integrative theory is needed in order to manage and design experiments. Rosenzweig said that it is time to set up national and regional coordinated long-term efforts on adaptation, with evaluation built in, to help develop the theory. Dietz said that the commons literature shows how a research community, working within a theoretical framework, can move understanding forward. Other comments focused on particular scientific issues. One participant noted that the idea of social inertia is important but overly simplistic and needs to be unpacked. One pointed to the need for more discussions of the critical roles of boundary organizations. One said that adaptation strate- gies, even in urban areas, should be analyzed within their ecosystems. One identified a need to talk about uncertainties in many knowledge areas, not only in climate science. There were also suggestions to consider information technology as a force shaping social change and to find balance between âthinâ and âthickâ descriptions of adaptation processes. Several comments focused on issues of practice. One participant reiter- ated the importance of integrating adaptation into the workings of existing institutions. However, another noted that there is a tension between nor- malizing (mainstreaming) adaptation and not normalizing it. A participant noted the importance and unavoidability of conflict and said that the way to address it was not to stifle it but to use it to surface unheard voices and
141 SYNTHESIS OF KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE WORKSHOP unrecognized impacts. Another pointed out the importance of continued âcare and feedingâ of local adaptation efforts after research projects end. Some comments focused on the magnitude of the adaptation challenge. Moser called for an end to the idea that climate change will be a slow, gradual process and for an increased focus on the big adaptation challenges society may be facing. She predicted that it will be a much bigger challenge than people think. Peter Banks suggested that people are facing three kinds of adaptation simultaneously: a wrenching energy adaptation over the next 50 years, the addition of additional 180 million people in the United States, and climate change. He suggested that this combination of adaptations will lead to social turbulence and a rethinking of institutions. A few comments emphasized the connections between science and prac- tice. One pointed to an urgent need for social science research as a basis for practice, rather than the consulting input that provides the conventional wisdom. Others wanted more practitioners in discussions like this one, including local practitioners, to talk with scientists to build understanding and new ways of thinking. One said there is a need to follow up meetings like this one, for deeper engagement between scientists and practitioners. Another called for multidisciplinary funding of rich environments that reach from theory to practice. Some comments focused on agenciesâ needs. One agency participant said that federal agencies are starting to think hard about adaptation issues, are really interested in what the research community has to say, and will be persistently asking questions of the research community. Another asked for advice on how best to set up national, state, and local networks. Finally, several comments raised capacity issues. One participant noted the declining budget for human dimensions research and the need to de- velop activities and capacity in developing countries. Another noted the need to nurture the next generation of people to fill the gap between sci- ence and its application to adaptation. Bridging the gap is a job people can have. Another emphasized the need for universities to train practitioners and âboundary peopleâ through degree programs. Dietz commented that extension services, which provide boundary people, are being gutted at the state level.