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Resilient Adaptation: Towards operationalizing the notion Mickey Glantz March 7, 2009 DRAFT thoughts
Resilient Adaption: the definition “improvization is a key premise” “Often there is a lack of time to assess complex systems and their interactions” (Grotan et al, 2006)
Characterization of Resilient Adaptation • Flexible intervention approach to changing behavior (grotan, p. 6) • Capitalizes on “improvization” which can lead to new ways to cope • Requires “trade-offs” • Generates its own risks • Provides an ability to cope with a constantly changing environment (if not the trend) • Encourages creativity in “thinking in action” (Grotan, p. 3) • Requires close monitoring (being watchful) (Grotan, p. 3) • Transitional responses from current climate to a future climate regime
Problematic definition: adaptation • UNFCCC: adaptation refers to climate change related impacts • IPCC: adaptation refers to any changes • Under the FCCC definition, "adaptation" refers only to new actions in response to climate changes that are attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. It does not refer to improving adaptation to climate variability or change that are not attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. • Adaptation can be passive or pro-active • Grotan suggests adaptation = anticipation, attention and response
RA as usable social science • RA is best used as a “guiding principle” • Much like the “Precautionary Principle” • Indicators can be chosen to evaluate whether a societal act or process of adaptation to climate change meets certain explicit criteria that increases the likelihood that the act will be viewed as a resilient aspect of adaptation.
The problem that requires an adaptive response
ASWIRO and a changing climate (or a climate change) • • • A: the proposed adaptation to a changing climate S: Strength (or value) of that adaptation W: Weakness of the adaptation I: Impacts of this adaptation (social, ecological) R: Resiliency level for short, mid and long term O: Opportunities expected to be generated by this adaptation
Resilient Adaptation as a guiding principle: “Try before you buy” • Before pursuing an adaptation act or process, use criteria to determine the actual value of that adaptive action. • When the “aswiro” criteria are all positive, the adaptive practice being considered is deemed reliable
A: the proposed adaptation to a changing climate • Many ideas on how to adapt to a changing climate (or to climate change). They will all look good and feasible at first glimpse. They must be evaluated for effectiveness in terms of achieving desired goals. • Biofuels is a good example of a “rush to judgment” as an adaptation response.
S: Strength (or value) of that adaptation • The proposed adaptive act or process has perceived as well as actual benefits (hopefully these are the same). • This is similar to asking “what ought to be the value” of the proposed adaptation. • Benefits can be ecological, societal or economic. • Essentially, this is a ‘hope list’, all other intervening things being equal (which they never are).
W: Weakness of the adaptation • Every idea for a new approach to adaptation likely will have a downside because of physical, societal and ethical reality. • This is like asking “what is” the reality that constrains achieving perfect effectiveness of the proposed adaptation.
I: Impacts of this adaptation (social, ecological) • If implemented, what are the positive and negative firstorder impacts on societal, ecological and physical systems? • It would be useful as well to identify potential ‘unintended consequences’ of a particular adaptive act or process, as best as one can.
R: Resiliency level for short, mid and long term (for an community) • Adaptation to a changing climate may have short term benefits (or adverse impacts) but over time its effectiveness may have changed. • To capture this transitional impact at different periods of time (near, mid and long term), we look at and evaluate given contemporary knowledge, as best we can, the changes in the contribution to societal resilience to climate change. • This allows for mid-course correction to the adaptation as originally implemented.
R: Resiliency level for short, mid and long term (for a country) • Many countries already know some of the most serious adverse risks that they face. • Their governments can identify levels of value in terms of time (the time dimension) of their adaptation activities. • For example, the Maldives can take short term preventive adaptive responses that may prove to be ineffective, even counter-productive, in the mid or long term in terms of societal resilience (defined perhaps in terms of sustainability).
O: Opportunities expected to be generated by this adaptation • This refers to the likely appearance of unintended positive consequences of a particular adaptation act or process. • Try to anticipate downstream opportunities that might arise in the ‘best of all popular worlds’.
Chicken-Egg Problem • Adaptation is part of resilience • Resilience is part of adaptation
• • T. O. Grotan, F. Storseth, M. H. Ro, and A. B. Skjerve (2008). “Resilience, adaptation and improvization: increasing resilience by organizing for successful improvization”. Paper presented at the 3 rd Symposium on Resilience Engineering. Antibes, Juan-les-Pines, France, 28 -30 october 2008 S. S. Luthar, 2005. “Resilience at an early age and its impact on child psychosocial development”. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development (online)