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Suggested Citation:"Part II: Adapting to Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12996.
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Page 73
Suggested Citation:"Part II: Adapting to Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12996.
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Page 74

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Part II Adapting to Climate Change The second workshop, held on April 8-9, 2010, convened researchers, practitioners, and federal officials to bring available knowledge and experi- ence to bear on a set of questions that are likely to be critical in shaping a na- tional strategy for adaptation to climate change (see Box II-1). The questions were developed by the organizing panel on the basis of input from practitio- ners responsible for developing adaptation plans. They were distributed to all participants in advance of the workshop. Presenters were asked to consider the questions in making their presentations, but they were not required to address each of them explicitly. Participants were advised to think about key concepts and knowledge relevant to climate change adaptation, focusing the knowledge on such practical questions as those on the list. Much of the knowledge on adaptation to climate change derives from case studies in particular places or focused on managing particular types of resources that may be affected by climate change. This knowledge is not yet organized around a generally accepted theory or a unifying set of concepts. However, there are concepts and bodies of knowledge from other fields that might help add coherence in this field. In order to contribute to an increased coherence of knowledge, the panel began the workshop with presentations and discussion about the state of the science, including the state of theory and concepts, and it asked selected panel members to offer, at the end of the workshop, their syntheses of the possible answers to the practitioners’ questions that energed from the presentations and discussions. Chapter 10 presents these panel members’ syntheses. 

4 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES BOX II-1 Key Questions About Climate Change Adaptation Initiating adaptation 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 considerations been successfully integrated into the normal activities of regional or sectoral risk management organizations? Coordinating adaptation efforts: 3. What strategies or methods have been effective for coordinating adaptation efforts across scales (e.g., national, regional, local, individual)? 4. What strategies or methods have been effective for coordinating adaptation efforts across sectors (e.g., government, private, nonprofit, community)? 5. How should stakeholders and the public be engaged in adaptation efforts? Informing adaptation efforts: 6. What methods have been successful in providing needed information to risk managers who must cope with climate change? 7. How should efforts to inform climate adaptation characterize risk and un- certainty about future climate and other processes affecting climate risk? Science needs for adaptation efforts: 8. What new social science knowledge is needed to develop a national adap- tation strategy? 9. What metrics and indicators are needed to support adaptation decisions (e.g., indicators of vulnerability, resilience, adaptive potential, effectiveness of adaptation efforts)? 10. What are the key needs for databases, scenario development, and modeling? Managing adaptation efforts: 11. How should a national climate adaptation effort set priorities across haz- ards, sectors, regions, and time? What criteria, and what processes, should be used? 12. What mechanisms can help make adaptation efforts more adaptive? How can a system enable decision makers to learn efficiently from experience? 13. What additional capacity do federal agencies need to support adaptation and resilience?

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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, understanding the need for policy makers at the national level to entrain the behavioral and social sciences in addressing the challenges of global climate change, called on the National Research Council to organize two workshops to showcase some of the decision-relevant contributions that these sciences have already made and can advance with future efforts. The workshops focused on two broad areas: (1) mitigation (behavioral elements of a strategy to reduce the net future human influence on climate) and (2) adaptation (behavioral and social determinants of societal capacity to minimize the damage from climate changes that are not avoided).

Facilitating Climate Change Responses documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. This material illustrates some of the ways the behavioral and social sciences can contribute to the new era of climate research.

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