220.127.116.11 Adaptation scenarios
Limited attention has been paid to characterising alternative pathways of future adaptation. Narrative information within scenarios can assist in characterising potential adaptive responses to climate change. For instance, the determinants of adaptive capacity and their indicators have been identified for Europe through questionnaire survey (Schröter et al., 2005b). Empirical relationships between these indicators and population and GDP from 1960 to 2000 were also established and applied to downscaled, SRES-based GDP and population projections in order to derive scenarios of adaptive capacity (see Section 18.104.22.168). The SRES storylines have also been interpreted using GDP per capita scenarios to estimate, in one study, the exposure of human populations under climate change to coastal flooding, based on future standards of coastal defences (Nicholls, 2004) and, in a second, access to safe water with respect to the incidence of diarrhoea (Hijioka et al., 2002). The rate of adaptation to climate change was analysed for the agriculture sector using alternative scenarios of innovation uptake (Easterling et al., 2003) by applying different maize yields, representing adaptation scenarios ranging from no adaptation through lagged adaptation rates and responses (following a logistic curve) to perfect (clairvoyant) adaptation (Easterling et al., 2003). This work showed the importance of implied adaptation rates at the farm scale, indicating that clairvoyant approaches to adaptation (most commonly used in CCIAV studies) are likely to overestimate the capacity of individuals to respond to climate change.
One adaptation strategy not considered by Easterling et al. (2003) was land-use change, in the form of autonomous adaptation to climate change driven by the decisions of individual land users (Berry et al., 2006). The land-use change scenarios reported previously can, therefore, be thought of as adaptation scenarios. Future studies, following consultation with key stakeholders, are more likely to include adaptation explicitly as part of socio-economic scenario development, hence offering the possibility of gauging the effectiveness of adaptation options in comparison to scenarios without adaptation (Holman et al., 2005b).