Adaptive Strategies for Climate Change

Published in: Innovative Energy Strategies for CO2 Stabilization / Edited by Robert G. Watts (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Chapter 3, p. 45, 48-85

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Robert J. Lempert, M. E Schlesinger

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In this chapter the authors argue for a different approach to climate-change policy and thus a different use for forecasts. They argue that climate change presents a problem of decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty. In the face of this uncertainty, robust strategies are ones that will work reasonably well no matter what the future holds. The authors discuss the importance of adaptive decision strategies and how they differ from other views of the climate change problem. They will present two example analyses -- the impacts of climate variability on the design of such strategies and the choice of policy instruments in the presence of the potential for significant technology innovation. During the course of the discussion, they show the role of innovation in emissions-reducing technologies in such adaptive-decision strategies, as well as the type of information from forecasts that can prove most useful designing them. When viewed as an adaptive-decision strategy, one that can evolve over time in response to observations of the climate and economic systems, climate-change policy has important implications for new energy technologies and the role of forecasts of these technologies. The authors examined several facets of this broad question.

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