Frameworks of Policy Making Under Climate Change

Frameworks of Policy Making Under Climate Change

Costas P. Pappis (University of Piraeus, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-800-1.ch009
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Abstract

How can decision-makers ensure that their policies will be robust enough to cope with the challenges of a climate, which is changing dramatically? How best to adapt to climate variability and extreme events? Which are the best practices for understanding, analysing and finally managing the risks that are associated with climate change and face business entities, communities, individual countries and the whole planet? Are there appropriate frameworks and methods available, capable to assist in systematically carrying out the decision-making and policy process? Questions such as these have not only a theoretical scope, but a great practical significance as well. Decision makers have been seeking for appropriate guidance and analytical frameworks to deal with these questions.
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Introduction

How can decision-makers ensure that their policies will be robust enough to cope with the challenges of a climate, which is changing dramatically? How best to adapt to climate variability and extreme events? Which are the best practices for understanding, analysing and finally managing the risks that are associated with climate change and face business entities, communities, individual countries and the whole planet? Are there appropriate frameworks and methods available, capable to assist in systematically carrying out the decision-making and policy process? Questions such as these have not only a theoretical scope, but a great practical significance as well. Decision makers have been seeking for appropriate guidance and analytical frameworks to deal with these questions.

It is only natural that, as a response to this need, several decision analysis frameworks were developed and proposed, which may be used as support tools in order to formulate policies aimed to cope with the impacts of climate change, and more specifically to help design relevant adaptation and/or mitigation measures. Some of these frameworks are general approaches, which may be used in both the private and public sector, while others may be used in specific areas, e.g. local governments.

In particular, several tools that appeared most likely to be useful to government officials engaged in adaptation planning are listed in a report published by the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment under the title “A Survey of Climate Change Adaptation Planning” (Heinz, 2007). The survey concentrated on U.S. and Western-centric reports, written in English, with an emphasis on practicality. The following eight guidebooks and frameworks were selected and are surveyed in the report, presented in chronological order of their publication date (with the most recent first):

  • 1.

    “Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional and State Governments”, Climate Impacts Group (University of Washington), ICLEI, King County, Washington, funded by NOAA. (Initiated by a 2005 conference), September 2007.

  • 2.

    “Cities Preparing for Climate Change: A Study of 6 Urban Regions”, Clean Air Partnership (Toronto, Canada), May 2007.

  • 3.

    “Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities”, Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network, February 2006.

  • 4.

    “Surviving Climate Change on Small Islands: A Guidebook”, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (Norwich, UK), October 2005.

  • 5.

    “Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability: Promoting an Efficient Adaptation Response in Australia”, Australian Greenhouse Office, March 2005.

  • 6.

    “Coastal Hazards and Climate Change: A Guidance Manual for Local Government in New Zealand”, New Zealand Climate Change Office, May 2004.

  • 7.

    “Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty and Decision-making”, UK Climate Impacts Programme Technical Report (Oxford, UK), May 2003.

  • 8.

    “Handbook on Methods for Climate Change Impact Assessment and Adaptation Strategies”, United Nations Environment Programme, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, October 1998.

The report includes a broad overview chart, which displays the results of applying criteria such as “applicability to different levels of government and types of environmental challenges”, “sufficiency of detail for policy construction”, “provision for a decision-making framework” etc. to the eight frameworks selected. Notably the chart reveals that “there is no “perfect” guidebook or framework among those examined. However, each has its own unique focus areas, reflecting the differing objectives, experiences and perspectives of those who produced it”.

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