Climate adaptation platforms and decision support tools in the context of high-end climate change

14:00 Wednesday 29 May


Room S2


Tiago Capela Lourenço (Portugal) 1; Susana Marreiros (Portugal) 1; Luís Filipe Dias (Portugal) 1; Adis Dzebo (Sweden) 2; Henrik Carlsen (Sweden) 2; Paula Harrison (United Kingdom) 3

1 - Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling group (CCIAM-cE3c), University of Lisbon, Portugal; 2 - Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; 3 - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)

Despite the Paris Agreement target of holding global temperature increases 1.5 to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, high-end climate change (HECC) scenarios going beyond those levels are becoming progressively more plausible. HECC may imply increasing climate variability and extremes as well as the triggering of tipping points, posing further difficulties for adaptation. Over the past two decades, a proliferation of decision-making methods and tools directed at supporting adaptation planning, including impacts, vulnerability, adaptation and risk assessment approaches has emerged. These methods and tools have been mostly designed for online and/or participatory application at transnational, national and subnational levels.

The development and use of web-based platforms in support of adaptation and climate services is becoming the most frequent format used in climate change communication. This communication presents the outcomes of work carried under the frame of the FP7 IMPRESSIONS project (Impacts and Risks from High-End Scenarios: Strategies for Innovative Solutions). The objective was to identify the critical needs and capacities of European decision-makers, acting at global to local scales, for considering HECC scenarios and their associated uncertainties. In particular, the purpose was to review freely available web-based decision support platforms and tools at various scales, and to assess how well they equip decision-makers involved in climate adaptation, to deal with the level and types of uncertainty implied by HECC.

A stepwise methodology was developed to assist in the review of web-based platforms and tools. An initial scan yielded a total of 75 web-based adaptation platforms, later reduced to 45 after eligibility check. All platforms listed were screened and reviewed for the presence of HECC content. Results from this screening showed that only 24 of the 45 platforms under review included information that could be considered HECC related. Subsequent multi-criteria analysis critically reviewed the selected platforms for their performance in brokering knowledge about HECC.

The current and growing demand for more online information will continue to push forward the development of new platforms and associated decision support tools. However, results show that there is no evidence supporting the notion that HECC will gain additional prominence in the share of information being communicated through these platforms. Platform developers are not investing in a clear distinction between HECC and other climate change scenarios and, in line with previous findings, HECC scenarios are not commonly perceived as having higher likelihood, and thus not routinely included in the development of adaptation decision-support platforms.