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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy has been released for public review and comment. The strategy, which largely targets federal, state, and tribal natural resource managers and elected officials, contains a synthesis of the current state-of-knowledge regarding potential climate and non-climatic impacts to U.S. natural resources and ecosystems. This is followed by the identification of a range of strategic priorities for adaptation and actions to be pursued under each, and its gives proper lip-service to the importance of inter-agency coordination. Nevertheless, as we've seen many times before, it's rather clear that the policy framework for the design and implementation of such actions (i.e., the hard part) has yet to be developed. For example, as the strategy itself states,

"[The plan] is not a detailed operational plan, nor does it prescribe specific actions to be taken by specific agencies or organizations, or specific management actions for individual species. In addition, the development of strategies and actions for this document was not constrained by assumptions of current or future available resources."

So beyond it's general educational value to stakeholders, of what utility is strategy that doesn't provide details on implementation, actor responsibilities, or evaluation of the costs and benefits of different actions? At some point one hopes that such adaptation strategies will give way to more robust planning, decision, and investment frameworks to ensure the work that clearly needs to get done to facilitate the adaptation of natural ecosystems and resources actually gets done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recent Titles from ELDIS

How important is information to disaster response? "This paper highlights recent advances in the use of climate information to improve livelihoods and save lives. By analysing experiences like that of the Red Cross in West Africa, it takes stock of the needs and capabilities of the humanitarian community and assesses the types of climate-related information products that may help inform disaster risk reduction and development decision-making processes."

How can disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation be integrated?
"This paper reviews the extent of convergence between disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) at a number of scales. It also examines what is at stake if the two agendas do not converge. The authors present updated evidence of where DRR and CCA are already converging and evaluate obstacles to further convergence."

Measuring the levels of urban climate disaster resilience: Climate Disaster Resilience Index
"Coastal urban cities in Asia are experiencing ever-increasing vulnerability due to climate change impacts and fast-growing urban development. This study measures the existing level of climate disaster resilience of the targeted areas using a Climate Disaster Resilience Index (CDRI) which is based on natural, physical, social, economic and institutional dimensions. Higher values of resilience are equivalent to higher preparedness to cope with climate and disasters and inversely."

Monday, January 16, 2012


ICARUS (Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences) has issued a call for papers for the third ICARUS meeting to be held at Columbia University from Thursday May 17 through Sunday May 20, 2012. ICARUS-III follows on the ICARUS-I and II meetings organized at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. The theme of the ICARUS-III meeting is “Scales, Frameworks and Metrics.”

More information available here:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

PROVIA Seeks Conference Host

With planning for ‘Adaptation Futures’ the 2nd International Conference on Climate
already well underway, PROVIA (Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation) is already seeking volunteers to host the 3rd conference in 2014. Any takers?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Leaks on the IPCC Ship

Rumour has it that the IPCC continues to suffer from mysterious happenings out in cyberspace. An attempt has been made to post various "zero order draft (ZOD)" chapters from WGI and WGII of the Fifth Assessment Report to a website (go track it down yourself, I refuse to do anything more to facilitate this cheekiness by providing a link). Although as I write, those chapters no longer appear to be accessible.

As the ZODs tend to be very rough first cracks at chapter content (pre-formal peer review), they likely reveal little regarding what will eventually emerge from the IPCC process, although the very fact that they are so unpolished could be a bit embarrassing in itself. The IPCC is no stranger to politics and criticism, yet the magnifying glass under which the IPCC now finds itself has many authors thinking defensively. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is open to interpretation. No doubt, there will be many more attempts to access and dissiminate drafts in the months ahead.

Adaptation Positions at the University of Leeds

New positions are currently being advertised at the University of Leeds for adaptation researchers. Dr. Suraje Dessai is leading a recruitment effort to attract two Research Fellows and a Lecturer. Recruitment is closing soon.

More information can be found here:

Director, Climate Adaptation Policy

The Nature Conservancy has an opening for the position of Director, Climate Adaptation Policy (You've got until midnight to apply. . . ).

The Director of Climate Adaptation Policy will lead and manage policy activities as part of an integrated effort to further the climate adaptation agenda of the Conservancy. The Director of Climate Adaptation Policy provides direction to other government relations staff and also directly interacts with U.S. Federal agencies, Cabinet departments and White House offices; Congressional staff; and State, Tribal and local governments. In addition, the position will oversee Conservancy policy efforts in international fora such as negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with international donor institutions, and in key countries identified in the Conservancy’s key country strategy (Brazil, Indonesia, China and Mexico). The position will be based within the Conservancy’s U.S. Government Relations Department, reporting to the Director, U.S. Government Relations, with a dotted line to the Climate Adaptation Strategy Leader and will work in close coordination with other external affairs staff and with the Conservancy’s Climate Adaptation Team as part of an organization-wide climate adaptation strategy. The Director of Climate Adaptation Policy may be required to register as a lobbyist under relevant provisions of U.S. law.

To Apply:
Go to click on “How to Apply: and then on “View Positions”, and search for Position # 39593, Director, Climate Adaptation Policy. Applicants must complete the on-line application, submit a resume and cover letter as one document, and provide salary requirements. Applications accepted through midnight, January 13, 2012.

Book: Local Climate Action Planning

Angela Osborn of Island Press sent me some details regarding a new book:

As more communities begin addressing the need to reduce energy consumption, a new set of tools will be required to inform that process.Local Climate Action Planning is the first book designed to help planners, municipal staff and officials, citizens and others working at local levels to develop Climate Action Plans. A CAP clearly outlines a community’s plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering energy consumption, and in the process creating a more livable, sustainable community. With examples drawn from actual plans, Local Climate Action Planning guides preparers of CAPs through the entire plan development process, identifying the key considerations and choices that must be made in order to assure that a plan is both workable and effective. This practical guide synthesizes the many disparate materials currently available on creating CAPs into one readable work. In addition, the authors present CAP case studies: communities that have created innovative plans and are in the process of implementing them, each uniquely demonstrating how CAPs can be suited to meet the needs of all types of localities.

The authors are climate action plan veterans, having worked on over three dozen CAPs and gas emission inventories. They also deliver a strong academic perspective, with experience researching and publishing on the state of climate action planning practice nationwide.

For more information, please visit You may also view the book online: please visit to request access.

Did I Miss Anything?

I was browsing through email sent to the Adaptation Online email address last night (something I hadn't done in quite some time), which led to the following realizations:

  1. Posts have been infrequent in recent months, and by that I mean nonexistent.

  2. People noticed the infrequency of posts - evidenced by emails with subject lines that read "Are you still there?"

  3. A lot has transpired in the adaptation arena over the past half year
I won't make excuses, because I'm sure you don't care about how much time very small children can soak up (particularly those of the newborn variety); or the difficulties of balancing research, IPCC commitments, US National Assessment commitments, and the travel associated with each; or the pressures of attempting to find moderately interesting things to say about adaptation on a regular basis.

Suffice to say, I'm hoping to resume more frequent posts, as it's become clear that the less I blog about adaptation, the less aware I am of what's going on with adaptation. I won't attempt to catch-up on six months or so of happenings. However, I will try and cover some of the emails I did receive, with apologies if my response or post comes far too late to be of any use to you.