Rob Wilby and Conor Murphy
Some of the most profound impacts of climate variability and change are expected in the water sector. These include more frequent, severe, and persistent droughts; more frequent, widespread, and extreme floods; more episodic and harmful water pollution episodes. Coping with more variable water supplies alongside rising demand will involve institutional reform, new infrastructure, adjustments to operations, and water demand management. A smarter, decision-led approach to deploying climate information in water management will also be required. This chapter begins with an overview of analytical frameworks for assessing and adapting water resource systems to uncertain climate threats and opportunities. It then gives examples of the diverse sources of information that are being accessed by some water managers to establish plausible ranges of climate change as a basis for decision-making. Examples from Denver, Colorado, and Dublin, Republic of Ireland show how narratives of future system changes and historical data can help test the efficacy of decisions under uncertainty. These two case studies demonstrate how early dialogue and information exchange among practitioners and scientists are fundamental to adaptation planning. In both places, unconventional sources of climate risk information were used to more rigorously stress test water management and planning assumptions. The preferred adaptation decision frameworks were dynamic, iterative, and open-ended. The chapter closes by acknowledging that further development of the decision-making approaches described herein may be needed to evaluate mixtures of adaptation options across multiple sectors.
Julie Rozenberg, Laura Bonzanigo, and Claire Nicolas
Increasing the amount of resilient infrastructure investments in developing countries is key to achieving development goals. Two issues need to be addressed to better support investment decisions. First, analysts need to better integrate the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of investment decisions in their quantitative analyses, given the intertwined objectives of climate change adaptation and poverty reduction. Second, analysts and practitioners need to recognize that the future state of those three dimensions is deeply uncertain and that new techniques need to be used that look for robust investments—performing well under multiple future conditions—rather than an optimal solution under a single prediction of the future. Doing so can be achieved by beginning important decision processes with an integrated model representing technical and socioeconomic factors, and exploring various interventions under many possible futures.
Trends in Vulnerability to Climate-related Hazards in the Pacific: Research, Understanding and Implications
John Hay, Virginie Duvat, and Alexandre K. Magnan
The unique coping capacities and other attributes that Pacific island nations have been developing for centuries have sustained them in the face of an enormous range of local and global challenges. These include climate change-related hazards, and especially tropical cyclones and high-wave incidents that notably generate landslides and river and coastal flooding; droughts; heat waves; and ocean warming. Such hazards place resources, people, and assets at serious risk, as reflected by their vulnerability. However, measuring climate change vulnerability is problematic since climate hazards combine with anthropogenic and other physical drivers to influence the nature, levels, and variability of vulnerability. The few longitudinal studies that have been undertaken for the Pacific island countries show high and increasing vulnerabilities, despite considerable investment of money and other resources at community, island, sector, and national levels. Considering the elements of risk (hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and capacity to adapt), this chapter critically reviews the approaches used in the Pacific to assess vulnerability, analyzes recent changes in the vulnerability of island nations, and lays the foundation for some new thinking on island habitability and futures. It uses lessons learned, as well as success stories and success factors, to present priorities related to the assessment of climate change vulnerabilities, risks, and possible adaptation interventions in the Pacific islands region. These underpin a series of principles aimed at harmonizing understanding and action. Notably, the chapter concludes that transformational resilient development can provide a more effective response to increasingly unprecedented risks and higher vulnerabilities, for both high and low islands, including atolls.
This work reports on the main physical processes that arise in the environment of the megacity from the “urban metabolism”—the complex interactions of the climate with the activities performed in the city and its built structure and texture—as well as on associated large-scale processes that generate hazards for the megacity’s inhabitants. It is estimated that in a few decades most of the world’s population will live in urban centers. Both the growth of megacities and climate change will increase the vulnerability of huge sectors of the population to climatic consequences of the urban metabolism. These include urban heat islands, pollution, and extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods. Developing policies to mitigate these threats will require integrating scientific knowledge with management skills, communication among cities about effective approaches, and taking into account residents’ needs for health and the capacity to live safely.
Peter Berry, Anna Yusa, and Livia Bizikova
Climate change is likely to increase drought globally and regionally, including within Canada, by the end of the century. In recent years, drought has affected communities across Canada and can have significant impacts on individuals. Health risks relate to the exacerbation of food and waterborne diseases, inadequate nutrition, impacts on air quality, vector-borne diseases, illnesses related to the exposure of toxins, mental health effects, and impacts from injuries (e.g., traffic accidents, spinal cord injuries). In Canada, the impacts of drought on human health and well-being are not well understood and monitoring and surveillance of such impacts is limited. In addition, important factors that make people and communities vulnerable to health impacts of drought require more investigation. These factors may differ significantly among the populations (e.g., rural vs urban) and regions (prairies, coastal, and northern). Vulnerability to drought health impacts in Canada due to climate change may be affected by: (1) changes in exposure as droughts increase or combine with other extreme events (wildfires, heat waves) to harm health; (2) changes in adaptive capacity due to impacts on, for example, health services from increasing extreme weather events; and (3) changes in susceptibility related to demographic (e.g., aging, chronic diseases) and socioeconomic trends. Effective measures to increase the resiliency of Canadians to drought health impacts require proactive adaptation efforts that increase knowledge of factors that make people and their communities vulnerable to this hazard, information as to how droughts might increase in the future, and integration of this information into future policies and programs. This paper identifies a set of indicators that may be used to gauge vulnerability to the impacts of drought on health in the context of climate change in Canada to inform adaptation actions.