Adaptation and Innovation

Program Areas –

320px-Heavy_clouds_over_Salt_Lake,_CalcuttaAmidst the crucial discussion of expanding energy access and developing clean energy technologies scalable for the purpose of climate change mitigation, adaptation stands out as the area of action with the greatest capacity for value-added research and clarity, and the greatest importance and potential efficacy in the near- to medium-term for protecting human dignity, livelihoods, and prospects in the face of a dynamic climate and rapidly evolving societies.

Our work over the years has focused on the reality that societal vulnerability to climate has many sources (such as changing demographic, land-use, and urbanization patterns) and that effective adaptation policies can help reduce vulnerability regardless of its source. A key element of adaptive capacity that has been almost totally neglected in climate change policy discussions has been the importance of technological systems and technological innovation. Yet innovation in key aspects of societal infrastructure may well be the most important determinant of adaptive capacity of many societies. Agricultural systems, water systems, natural hazards mitigation capabilities, and many aspects of the built environment may need to evolve rapidly—indeed, potentially with unprecedented responsiveness—to ensure that adaptive capacities can keep up with changing vulnerabilities to climate impacts. In this third phase of our project, we conceptualize, for the first time, a global adaptation innovation agenda, identify appropriate institutions and networks for advancing that agenda, and appropriate policy frameworks and interventions.


Workshop Presentations