Sunday, February 17, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 201 (Hynes Convention Center)Communities are struggling with how to cope with and plan for a changing climate. Each year, weather-related disasters affect hundreds of millions of people and cost billions of dollars. Planning for climate change provides formidable challenges for communities. Efforts to support climate adaptation often focus mainly on getting scientific information into the hands of the decision-makers, under the assumption that good decisions are promoted by making available the right information. While essential, information alone is not enough. Climate adaptation planning is promoted by numerous factors, including synthesizing expert data with local knowledge, integrating adaptation planning into existing planning efforts, dialogue and ongoing learning among the interested and affected parties, and effective leadership. This symposium addresses the contributions of science to understand how climate adaptation planning can be effectively promoted. We do not presume that there is one “right way” to do climate adaptation planning. Top-down approaches will be effective and necessary under some conditions. Under other conditions, starting with the local knowledge of community decision-makers, planners, and stakeholders will be most effective. In this symposium, we will explore scientific evidence and theories of how climate adaptation planning is happening to better understand the potential of science to address the urgent social challenge of improving climate readiness.
Thomas Webler, Social and Environmental Research Institute