92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 11:15 AM
Towards a Framework for Assessing Stakeholder Needs in Responding to Climate Change Across Spatial and Temporal Scales
Room 243 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Lisa Dilling, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and J. Berggren, K. Dow, K. Lackstrom, B. Haywood, M. C. Lemos, and S. Kalafatis

The federal government is seeking to build an ongoing assessment capacity for climate change impacts and supporting decision making across sectors at multiple scales. The question arises of how such a capacity can be efficiently and effectively constructed so that it can the most helpful within available resource constraints. Over the past two decades, experience has been building in understanding both how climate science has been applied in decision making, and how communities are responding to climate variability and change. To harvest this experience, investigators from three RISA programs: the Great Lakes Regional Integrated Scientific Assessment (GLISA); the Western Water Assessment (WWA) and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) have been looking retrospectively and currently at stakeholder needs and constraints with respect to climate variability and change. We are seeking to understand the commonalities and differences across regions, and aiming to construct an assessment support framework for future assessments. Data collection was carried out in three phases. First, we identified focus areas and sectors in each region according to expected impact/sensitivity to climate risk and socio-economic importance. Second we identified a large number (over 200 altogether) of reports related to climate issues and a baseline database of stakeholders currently engaged with climate-related decisions for each sector. Third we contacted key informants to expand the scope of the search. Fourth, we identified critical variables of interest, including: the types of adaptation or mitigation activities occurring in each sector, identified needs and barriers that hinder adaptation actions; and recommendations or possible solutions to address adaptation limits and barriers. Then we developed a common coding guiding book focusing on activities being undertaken to address issues associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation, existing needs to address these issues, trusted sources of information, perceived constraints and opportunities, and how the perceptions of these topics have evolved over time. Fifth, we organized the database in N-Vivo for further analysis. Finally we identified stakeholders and their characteristics such as sector, area of focus and affiliation in order to identify and map the social networks that were associated with the creation of documents and participation in key events that have produced and disseminated climate information. This presentation reports the data mainly on the document and key informant interview phases of the project. In the interest of time, we also will present work focused on one particular sector, the water sector, which was well represented in all three regions' databases. Stakeholders indicated that they shared some concerns across regions, including concerns over increased variability in precipitation, and uncertainty at the local scale. Naturally there were differences across regions as well. Stakeholder needs fell into three main categories: data and information, governance and leadership, and collaboration and communication. While there were some specific items that were found across all three regions, what was of particular interest was how the needs expressed correlated with the governance structure in place for water allocation and permitting. We suggest there is a complex interplay between perceptions of risk, drought events, public awareness and legal frameworks and they all work to influence needs and constraints. We also found evidence of an “adaptation deficit,” in which existing data, infrastructure, coordination and relationships between information producers and consumers were inadequate to support the additional activity that might be expected to arise as climate becomes more unpredictable and variable.

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