Adaptation to Climate Change in Developing Countries

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By Heather McGray. Presented on Day Two of Transforming Transportation. Washington, D.C. January 15, 2010.

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  • Vulnerability varies in no small part by level of development. Those who have fewer resources in general have fewer resources for contending with climate change. For this reason, adaptation is intricately intertwined with development – many development activities foster adaptation and vice versa. Exactly how this happens – e.g. whether a given development initiative is adaptive – varies greatly from place to place, depending upon socioeconomic, environmental, climatic, institutional and other factors.
  • Huge diversity of activities Many are things you might want to do even if the climate weren’t changing. On p.15 of Weathering the Storm
  • The report proposes a continuum of adaptation from “pure” development activities to very explicit measures to address climate change. At one far end of the continuum, adaptation efforts overlap almost completely with traditional development practice, where activities take little or no account of specific climate change impacts. At the far opposite end, highly specialized activities are developed in response to observed or anticipated changes in climate, and fall outside the realm of development as we know it. In between lies a broad spectrum of activities with gradations of “normal” development and climate change-focused activities. Examples: literacy on the far left, building a ‘safe island’ on the far right many things in the middle which would be good to do in a stable climate, but are even more important – or must be done differently – under a changing climate. IWMR, for instance.
  • For more information and an elaborated continuum, see “Weathering the Storm” (2007). Key challenges: moving to national and sectoral levels – how to frame adaptation then?
  • Adaptation to Climate Change in Developing Countries

    1. 2. Adaptation to Climate Change in Developing Countries Heather McGray World Resources Institute Transforming Transportation 2010 January 15, 2010 IADB, Washington, DC
    2. 3. Adaptation <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean for development? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean for transport? </li></ul>
    3. 4. Copenhagen <ul><li>What happened? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean for adaptation? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we go from here? </li></ul>
    4. 5. What is Adaptation? <ul><li>Adjustment in response to climate stimuli </li></ul><ul><li>Moderates harm OR exploits opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>May be anticipatory or reactive </li></ul><ul><li>(IPCC 2007) </li></ul>
    5. 6. What is Adaptation? (2) <ul><li>An ongoing process, NOT an endpoint </li></ul><ul><li>Learning from experience </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipating the future </li></ul><ul><li>A set of capacities that fosters ongoing adjustment </li></ul>
    6. 7. What about adaptation and development ?
    7. 8. Household Level Adaptation Practices <ul><li>Mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Storage </li></ul><ul><li>Diversification </li></ul><ul><li>Communal Pooling </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Agrawal 2008 </li></ul>
    8. 9. Adaptation Project Strategy Types Source: McGray et al (2007), as modified by Hedger et al (2008)
    9. 10. 0 100 x = the incremental benefit from a given activity due to climate change Development – Adaptation Continuum (The (Over-)Simplified Version)
    10. 12. Adaptation in the Transport Sector <ul><li>Building capacities for: </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritization </li></ul><ul><li>Information Management </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination </li></ul><ul><li>Climate Risk Reduction </li></ul>For additional information, see WRI’s “National Adaptive Capacity Framework” (2009): http://www.wri.org/project/vulnerability-and-adaptation/nac-framework
    11. 13. Copenhagen What happened? <ul><li>Negotiators did not reach closure. </li></ul><ul><li>Heads of state engaged deeply. </li></ul><ul><li>The Copenhagen Accord has uncertain status. </li></ul><ul><li>We have a new system of “internationalized domestic commitments.” </li></ul>For additional reflections from WRI on what happened, please see http://www.wri.org/stories/2009/12/reflections-copenhagen-accord-and-way-forward
    12. 14. Copenhagen What does it mean for adaptation? <ul><li>Mitigation target: 2 degrees </li></ul><ul><li>Finance target: $15b/yr. in “quick-start” finance </li></ul><ul><li>Finance target: Some portion of $100b/year in long-term finance </li></ul><ul><li>Tremendous uncertainty about operationalization </li></ul><ul><li>Need for building trust </li></ul>
    13. 15. Copenhagen Where do we go from here? <ul><li>Jan. 31 deadline for commitments. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch the US, EU on finance. </li></ul><ul><li>Growing need for good adaptation action models. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus shifts to national governments, smaller multi-lateral arenas. </li></ul><ul><li>Growing diversity of institutions engaged. </li></ul>
    14. 16. Thank you! Heather McGray [email_address]

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