Methods and Tools - IPCC TAR WGII (Chapter 2)

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Methods and Tools - IPCC TAR WGII (Chapter 2). Gary Yohe Professor of Economics Wesleyan University June 11, 2001. QUESTIONS RAISED IN THE CHAPTER. Detecting the current effects of climate change (and climate variability)

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## Methods and Tools - IPCC TAR WGII (Chapter 2)

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### Methods and Tools - IPCC TAR WGII (Chapter 2)

Gary Yohe

Professor of Economics

Wesleyan University

June 11, 2001

QUESTIONS RAISED IN THE CHAPTER
• Detecting the current effects of climate change (and climate variability)
• Anticipating, estimating, and integrating future effects of climate change (and climate variability)
• Valuing and costing impacts and adaptations
• Expressing and characterizing uncertainties
• Reflecting appropriate frameworks for decision-making.
The Vulnerability Context of Adaptive Capacity
• Vulnerability (a vector V) is a function of exposure (to multiple stresses - a vector E), sensitivity (a similarly dimensioned vector S), and adaptive capacity (A); so:

V = F{ E(A); S(A) }

• Adaptive capacity may be quantified to a scalor, but it has multiple determinants Di :

A = AC {D1 , ……, D8 }

• Availability and distribution of resources
• Structure of institutions and decision-making processes
• Stock and distribution of human capital
• Stock of social capital
• Ability to process information and the credibility of decisions
• Public perception of exposure, sensitivity and attribution
• Applicable options are determined on a micro scale, but the list of possibilities may come from macro-scale processes like this one
• The next 5 determinants have macro-scale roots, but micro-scale manifestations:

Resources and their distribution

Institutional structure; decision-making

Human capital

Social capital

Scale Considerations, Continued
• Information management may have macro-scale foundations, but it has fundamental micro-scale import.
• Public perception of attribution should similarly be determined on a micro-scale even if there are influences from outside and potential sources of information have a macro scale. The issue is credibility and when micro-scale actors look for credible information.
• The local implications of macro-scale determinants are their most important characteristics, and working the links across scales can add clout by expanding the scope of influence.
• The effects of most if not all of the determinants of adaptive capacity can be traced through their implications for specific adaptation options.
• Assessing overall vulnerability through organized and determinant-based considerations of the abilities of available options to influence sensitivity or exposure could be a very effective foundation for a methods and policy frameworks.
• The critical link in each context can be the definition of thresholds that define the boundaries of coping capacity against variability in the local environment.
• It follows that exploring how each option might be able to change those thresholds or variability to influence exposure and/or sensitivity is critical.
• The roles of other determinants in impeding or enhancing those abilities must also be recognized.
• And systematic interactions across determinants and adaptation options cannot be ignored.
Returning to the Questions
• Detection informs our understanding about exposure and sensitivity.
• Anticipation, estimation and integration of future effects does the same:

Anticipation takes detection into the future to

identify stresses.

Estimation adds detail to characterizations of the future.

Integration brings the interactions of multiple stresses into focus.

Integrating Multiple Stresses
• Some stresses have common sources - another place where macro scale processes can be identified and exploited.
• Other stresses have different sources, but are they positively or negatively correlated? Or are they independent?
• Looking endogenously for anthropogenic sources can highlight new suites of adaptive options.
More on the questions
• Valuation and costing impacts and adaptations play into evaluations of options, but currency is not necessarily the only metric:

Schneider’s 5 metrics: monetary loss, human life

quality of life, loss of species and bioversity, and

(in)equity and the distribution of well-being;

and both can play a role in assessing the significance of resource availability and their distribution.

More on the questions
• Uncertainty plays a role in:

Institutions - how do they cope with uncertainty?

The significance and structure of risk spreading mechanisms.

Decision-makers and public perception - how do the players sort the signal from the noise?

Uncertainty and Coping Capacity
• Looking at climate variability provides “early warning” to “not-implausible futures” and abrupt impacts of climate change.
• Focusing on the ability of adaptation options to manipulate the coping capacity as well as variability offers a way to include uncertainty into the analysis.
• This is the link that brings short-term planning horizons into the context of long-term stresses like climate change.
Uncertainty and Analysts
• Notwithstanding our considerable abilities, the output of the impact and adaptation analysis and/or a Policy Framework must be cast in terms of underlying uncertainty:

Ranges of possible outputs.

Representations of multiple moments.

Consideration of robustness in assessment

More on the questions
• Understanding of decision analytic frameworks and their local, path dependent application informs our understanding of:

Institutions

Human and social capital

Positive and normative analysis of risk spreading

mechanisms

Topic Organization of Chapter 2
• Detection (species and managed systems)
• Anticipating change
• Integrated assessment
• Cost and valuation methods
• Representing uncertainty
• Decision-analytic frameworks
Topics: Detection
• There are two questions of attribution:

Anthropogenic forces are changing the climate

Climate change is have an impact

• Fingerprint argument based on global congruence - a basis of considerable controversy.
• Still, for present purposes, the second attribution critical for framing adaptation.
• Nonetheless, the first attribution important in evaluating future.
Anticipating Future Impacts
• Scenarios define baselines and define scales.

This is perhaps backwards for adaptation work.

• Integration in Chapter 2 tends to focus on feedbacks and the role that vulnerability pays in pushing mitigation.

This is not the type of integration needed here.

• Attention is nonetheless drawn to climate variability and extremes.

Focus attention on variability, thresholds, coping

capacity and abrupt impacts of climate change.

Integrated Assessment
• Integrated assessment broadly defined is not necessarily linear from beginning to end.

IA methods can help with

multiple stresses (their common sources and/or

diversity)

delineating the operative scales of determinants

the definition of location specifics and path

dependence.

Cost and valuation methods
• All concepts are based on the notion of opportunity cost.
• This foundation can accommodate multiple metrics.
• Costing methods can provide some answers and insights, but not all; e.g., the cost and sources of inequity.
• Other initiatives on quantifying monetary estimates of non-market impacts (through direct and indirect methods) may not be widely applicable.
• This means that cost-benefit analysis is not the only game in town. Ultimately, though, there needs to be some assessment of tradeoffs across values attached to specific metrics….

### This is the ultimate context for opportunity cost. This is the ultimate context for opportunity cost.

This is the ultimate context for opportunity cost.

Uncertainty

Sources of Uncertainty:

Missing data or errors in data and noise.

Random sampling error and/or selection bias.

Known processes with unknown functional forms.

Known structures but unknown parameters.

Structural change over time.

Ambiguous concepts or techniques.

Spatial or temporal scale mismatches.

Humans.

• This is a widely accepted notion that integration across multiple systems amplifies uncertainty.
• Adaptation based analysis from second attribution short-circuits some of the cascade……as long as adaptive capacity analyses consider the robustness of that capacity and the derivative vulnerability across a range of “not-implausible” scenarios regardless of attributed probabilities (these may not be known; and the tails might be wide).
Decision Analytic Frameworks
• Highlights formal distinctions between:

Cost-benefit criteria.

Precautionary criteria.

Risk analysis.

Cost-effectiveness.

Policy exercises.

Adaptive capacity focus suggests that local specificity and path dependence determine the DAG

Take-Home Messages
• Multiple tools exist, but they may not be fully adept at handling adaptation/impacts analysis.
• While macro-scale processes work in most if not all parts of the world, micro-scale processes are critical; and they may not fit any specific context.
• Nonetheless, there will be common insights, common frustrations, and common methodology.

### Let many flowers bloom, and

conveneperiodically to compare notes, share “war stories”, and otherwise collaborate without the requirement of producing a “comprehensive document.