As highlighted in the 2021 IPCC report, extreme events are increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration worldwide, and we must learn to live with them.
The COP26 and the UNFCC in Glasgow also call for ‘increase ambition’ in climate adaptation.
An article from Communications Earth and Environment, ‘Research for climate adaptation’, propose three avenues to ramp up climate adaptation.
According to the authors, regardless of how quickly societies decarbonise, global average temperatures are already 1°C above pre-industrial levels and will continue to increase through 2050 and beyond.
2021 has also seen record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires in Northern America, deadly floods in China and Germany, while other climate change impacts will continue to affect billions of people worldwide, especially vulnerable communities.
Authors define adaptation as the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate change and its effects.
They outline opportunities for research to accelerate climate adaptation, based on consultations and interviews with representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the secretariats of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations University (UNU), and international funding organisations.
There are three promising opportunities for climate adaptation that authors have identified.
- The first is to establish a global stocktake of the climate change adaptation and mitigation that is being implemented and whether it is effective or adequate to meet the climate change challenges.
- Second, investing in resilience and adaptation in critical areas.
- Third, accelerate learning through practice.
“These three opportunities are all part of the overall shift in adaptation research to move beyond identifying climate risks and vulnerability towards providing a full suite of the knowledge required to implement solutions and improve outcomes in the light of equity and the best available science.” (Currie-Alder, Rosenzweig, Chen, et al, 2021)
Collaboration between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners should increase as scientists strive to make their research usable and as policymakers and practitioners engage more with the research community.
For further reading, click on the link below:
Currie-Alder, B., Rosenzweig, C., Chen, M. et al. Research for climate adaptation. Commun Earth Environ 2, 220 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00294-5