An assessment of the nature and utility of adaptive capacity research
Synthesis and Integrative Research Program
Vulnerability to climate change can be described as a function of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (Allen Consulting 2005 after IPCC 2001). However, as evidenced by the volume of publications in journals such as Science and Nature, the focus of the science of climate change has been dominated by research on exposure. There has been a recent increase in studies and publications on adaptive capacity, yet there has been no assessment of the nature of adaptive capacity research, or on the utility of the concept for decision-making. Thus the goal of the project is to assess the interpretation and approach to adaptive capacity research among a range of disciplines, and to assess the utility of the concept for decision-making, in order to make recommendations to improve synergies between climate change adaptation researchers and decision makers. The project actively involved stakeholders through an online survey and key informant interviews.
- Assess the interpretation and approach to adaptive capacity research among a range of disciplines;
- Critique case studies in which an attempt is made to assess adaptive capacity of a community, region or sector
- Assess the utility of the concept of adaptive capacity for decision-making on adaptation policy and planning; and
- Develop recommendations to improve synergies between climate change adaptation researchers and decision makers.
Key informant interviews were used to explore some of the themes that emerged through the online survey. While the key informants were mostly researchers, some decision makers and research clients were also included. The key informant interviews were transcribed and then coded using the software package NVivo. A concept mapping analysis was also conducted using the software package Leximancer. The key informant interviews were used to explore the conceptualisation and approaches to adaptive capacity, and its perceived utility for decision-making. The key informant interviews were also used to gauge the relevance of the initial recommendations to improve the synergies between adaptive capacity researchers and decision makers.
Prof Tim Smith
University of the Sunshine Coast