20.7.3 The complementarity roles of mitigation and enhanced adaptive capacity
IPCC (2001a) focused minimal attention on the co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation, but this report has added a chapter-length assessment of current knowledge at the nexus of adaptation and mitigation. An emphasis on constructing a “portfolio of adaptation and mitigation actions” has emerged (Chapter 18, Sections 18.4 and 18.7). Moreover, the capacities to respond in either dimension are supported by ‘similar sets of factors’ (Chapter 18, Section 18.6). These factors are, of course, themselves determined by underlying socio-economic and technological development paths that are location and time specific.
Yohe et al. (2006a, b) offer suggestive illustrations of pot-ential synergies within the adaptation/mitigation portfolio; complementarity in the economic sense that one makes the other more productive. Figures 20.5 and 20.6 display the geographic distribution of these synergies in terms of a national vulnerability index with and without mitigation, and with and without enhanced adaptive capacity by 2050 and 2100, respectively. Vulnerabilities that were assigned to specific countries on the basis of a vulnerability index derived from national estimates of adaptive capacity provided by Brenkert and Malone (2005) and the geographic distribution of temperature change derived from a small ensemble of global circulation models. The upper left panels of Figures 20.5 and 20.6 present geographical distributions of vulnerability in 2050 and 2100, respectively, along the SRES A2 emissions scenario with a climate sensitivity of 5.5°C under the limiting assumption that adaptive capacities are fixed at current levels; global mean temperature climbs by 1.6°C and 4.9°C above 1990 levels by 2050 and 2100, respectively. These two panels are benchmarks of maximum vulnerability against which other options can be assessed. Notice that most of Africa plus China display the largest vulnerabilities in 2050 and that nearly every nation displays extreme vulnerability by 2100. A2 was chosen for illustrative clarity with reference to temperature change only. Moreover, none of the interpretations depend on the underlying storyline of the A2 scenario; Yohe et al. (2006b) describes comparable results for other scenarios.
Figure 20.5. Geographical distribution of vulnerability in 2050 with and without mitigation along an SRES A2 emissions scenario with a climate sensitivity of 5.5°C. (a) portrays vulnerability with a static representation of current adaptive capacity. (b) shows vulnerability with enhanced adaptive capacity worldwide. (c) displays the geographical implications of mitigation designed to cap effective atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 550 ppm. (d) offers a portrait of the combined complementary effects of mitigation to the same 550 ppm concentration limit and enhanced adaptive capacity. Source: Yohe et al., 2006b.
Figure 20.6. Geographical distribution of vulnerability in 2100 with and without mitigation along an SRES A2 emissions scenario with a climate sensitivity of 5.5°C. (a) portrays vulnerability with a static representation of current adaptive capacity. (b) shows vulnerability with enhanced adaptive capacity worldwide. (c) displays the geographical implications of mitigation designed to cap effective atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 550 ppm. (d) offers a portrait of the combined complementary effects of mitigation to the same 550 ppm concentration limit and enhanced adaptive capacity. Source: Yohe et al., 2006b.
The upper right panels present comparable geographic distributions under the assumption that adaptive capacity improves everywhere with special emphasis on developing countries; their capacities are assumed to advance to the current global mean by 2050 and 2100 for Figures 20.5 and 20.6, respectively. Significant improvement is seen in 2050, but adaptation alone still cannot reduce extreme vulnerability worldwide in 2100. The lower panels present the effect of limiting atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to 550 ppm along least-cost emissions trajectories; global mean temperature is 1.3°C and 3.1°C higher than 1990 levels by 2050 and 2100 in this case. In the lower left panels, adaptive capacity is again held constant at current levels. Mitigation reduces vulnerability across much of the world in 2050, but extreme vulnerability persists in developing countries and threatens developed countries in 2100. Mitigation alone cannot overcome climate risk. Finally, the lower right panels show the combined effects of investments in enhanced adaptive capacity and mitigation. Climate risks are substantially reduced in 2050, but significant vulnerabilities reappear by 2100. Developing countries are still most vulnerable. Developed countries are also vulnerable, but they see noticeable benefits from the complementary effects of the policy portfolio. These results suggest that global mitigation efforts up to 2050 would benefit developing countries more than developed countries when combined with enhanced adaptation. By 2100, however, climate change would produce significant vulnerabilities ubiquitously even if a relatively restrictive concentration cap were implemented in combination with a programme designed to enhance adaptive capacity significantly.