The World Resources Institute, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, released a new report today. The report, Decision Making in a Changing Climate, “focuses on climate change adaptation and decisions by national leaders with a focus on developing countries.” The report calls for new actions and decision making by national leaders in light of recent extreme weather events, as well as continued research regarding long-term changes in climate. (Read the press release here.)
The report states that globally there is “a growing recognition that, no matter what steps may be taken to control greenhouse gas emissions, we need action to prepare for the likely impacts of greater climate variability and climate change. Governments increasingly realize that they need to make hard policy choices today about a world they may face in 20, 30, or 40 years from now—choices that take into account the scale, pace, and complexity of the risks presented by a changing climate.” This realization on the part of national leaders is evident by the organization and attendance of events such as global UN Climate Change Conferences, agreements like the Kyoto Protocol, and national security approaches to climate change and mitigation.
The WRI’s report is intended for countries that will continue or begin to make critical decisions regarding climate change for their own countries and communities, as well as globally. The report contains “five critical elements that will significantly strengthen the ability of national governments to make effective adaptation decisions:”
- Early and ongoing public engagement on climate change issues, to ensure that people appreciate the risks, understand policy decisions, and have a voice in how they are implemented and monitored.
- Information, such as geographically relevant weather data, that is easily accessible, can be shared with those affected, and used effectively to make informed decisions for varying time-scales.
- Institutional design that allows governments to coordinate among agencies and stakeholders at local, sub-national, regional, and international levels, and to prioritize climate risks in plan- ning and policymaking processes.
- Resources—financial, human, ecological, and social—at every level and over time.
- Tools to help governments assess climate risks and vulnerabilities, and decide among policy options. Some tools, such as hazard mapping, may be in place already, but need to be customized to support adaptation planning and policymaking; others will need to be created to meet the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.
The report states that it can serve as a guide for any country and its policymakers, especially those in developing countries.