International Workshop « Adaptation to Climate Change – Debates on framings and knowledge »

All day workshop co-organized by ANR projects ClimaConf  (Centre Alexandre Koyré, CNRS-EHESS) MEDEA (médialab, Sciences Po)



May 29, 2013 – Location : Sciences Po, 56, rue des Saints-Pères,Paris, 75007. Salle Goguel (Bât. B, 5ème étage) – Free admission subject to availability: please register here.

Program :MEDEA-29 mai 2013, Paris-ENG 

9h – Introduction by the organisers

Amy Dahan and Helene Guillemot (Centre Alexandre Koyré, ANR Project ClimaConf)

Nicolas Baya-Laffite and Ian Gray (Médialab Sciences Po, ANR Project MEDEA)

Since the early 2000s, adaptation – the second principle strategy of a climate politics aimed at reducing the consequences of a changing climate – has risen to the top of the international agenda, parallel to strategies of mitigation aimed at tackling the causes of global warming. Initially pushed by developing countries, adaptation has since become integrated at all levels of climate politics – not just in international negotiations but also at the individual country level, from national to sub-national to municipal jurisdictions, in both developing and developed countries. Such is the case in France, where, following on the heels of the 2009 Grenelle 2 legislation, the government developed a National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change in 2011, which is currently being translated into different territorial iterations (the SCRAE at the level of the region and the PCET at the level of the commune). This new attention on adaptation raises several questions and debates, for the most part poorly covered by the media, between actors trying to implement adaptation in different country contexts. The question of adapting to the impacts of climate change seems intrinsically tied to the problem of development in poor and emerging countries, and to questions of infrastructure, land use and urban planning in more developed countries. It thus has the potential of either reinforcing well-established politics and practices, or to the contrary, reconfiguring existing domains of public and private action. With this hypothesis in mind, the one-day workshop jointly organised by the National Research Agency (ANR) projects ClimaConf and MEDEA will explore debates spurred by questions about the kinds of knowledge needed to tackle the adaptation challenge and the tensions between different socio-political framings of adaptation, both in developing and developed country contexts.

9h30-13h – 1st Session: What Kinds of Knowledge for What Kinds of Adaptation?

General circulation models have played an essential role in establishing the threat of future climate change. While the major trend lines of global warming impacts are becoming more and more clear (generally more intense storms, increased average temperatures, disrupted crop seasons, less dependable water availability, melting glaciers, rising seas and increased flooding), current climate models are limited in their capacity to predict impacts for smaller geographies (i.e. regions and localities) over shorter time spans (5-15 years). And yet these are exactly the scales at which adaptation planning needs to engage. Current debates focus on how and where to invest limited resources in preparing for impacts, bringing about, for instance, a demand for climate services for adaptation decision-making. What is the role that prediction can and should play in adaptation? Are structural limitations in scenario modelling too intransigent to overcome, or do we need to continue pursuing models of increasing complexity and refinement to achieve better predictive capacity. How do we act in the face of uncertainty and what do disciplines other than modelling have to offer? Are certain approaches to adaptation decision making complementary, or inherently opposed? Considering these questions, invitees will discuss the tensions and debates concerning predictive expertise and model complexity for action in different sectors, as well as the construction of knowledge / decision interfaces.

Vincent Viguié, International Research Center on Environment and Development (CIRED), Integrated Assessment Modelling and its Use as Input for Adaptation Policy Analysis: Example of Heat Waves Vulnerability of Paris Urban Area

Roberto Roson, Ca’Fosciari University of Venice, Modelling Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in a General Equilibrium Framework

Céline Déandreis, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) ; ANR Project SECIFVers des  services climatiques pour le secteur industriel : leçons issues du projet SECIF

Suraje Dessai, University of Leeds, Advancing Knowledge Systems to Inform Climate Adaptation Decisions

13h-14h – Lunch

14h-17h30 – 2nd Session: Framing Adaptation to Climate Change in Different Contexts

Adaptation to climate change is a crosscutting concept – as well as a political imperative – that suggests we need to transform how we think about and undertake development and planning. Current debates on adaptation reflect this transversal and multifaceted character. For example, some framings emphasize the condition of vulnerability and the importance of understanding its underlying causes and placing adaptation to climate change within a broader social, economic and environmental conception of vulnerability. Others identify climate change adaptation as an extension of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which can draw on a well-established community of practice. And still others see adaptation as a path toward the making of a more resilient society, which involves less emphasis on the structural and political causes of vulnerability, but more on investment practices that produce and enhance resilience. Moreover, the framings of adaptation seem to take specific forms when discussed in a developed, or developing country, context. Considering these examples among many others, we would like to raise the question of the political effects of these multiple framings of adaptation. Who is driving them in each context? Which is their genealogy and evolution? How is the new attention to adaptation reframing the larger problem of climate change policies and governance? Which perspectives for the future evolution?  Invitees will address these questions in different contexts. Situated at an intermediate level of analysis, not too general but not too case specific either, we expect the four interventions to result in a comparative analysis between developed and developing countries.

Saleemul Huq, International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED)Focusing Global Adaptation Funding to the Most Vulnerable

Romain Weikmans, Université Libre de BruxellesCentre d’Etudes du Developpement Durable, Adaptation Aid Actions: From Incremental to Transformational Change

Denis Salles, IRSTEA ; ANR Project Adapt’eau, Le changement climatique, principe directeur de la gestion de l’eau?

Olivier Soubeyran, Joseph Fourier University – Grenoble, Consistance de l’adaptation au changement climatique et  mise en action aménagiste: renforcement réciproque ou auto-destruction? 

17h30-18h General Discussion and Conclusions

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