Assessing Vulnerability to Global Environmental Change: Making Research Useful for Adaptation Decision Making and Policy

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Assessing the vulnerability of human populations to global environmental change, particularly climate change, is now the main imperative of research and international action. However, much of the research into vulnerability is not designed to feed directly into decision making and policy, creating a gap between the knowledge created by researchers and what is required by decision makers.

This book seeks to rectify this problem and bridge the gap. It discusses vulnerability as the central theme and brings together many different applications from disaster studies, climate change impact studies and several other fields and provides the most comprehensive synthesis of definitions, theories, formalization and applications to date, illustrated with examples from different disciplines, regions and periods, and from local through to regional, national and international levels.

Case study topics cover sea level rise, vulnerability to changes in ecosystem services, assessing the vulnerability of human health and 'double exposure' to climate change and trade liberalization amongst other issues. Research outcomes stress that science-policy dialogues must be transparent to be effective and concentrate on a mutual understanding of the concepts used. A key research finding is that the most useful information for decision makers is that which shows the separate causes and drivers of vulnerability, rather than presenting vulnerability in an aggregated form. The book concludes with a unifying framework for analysing integrated methodologies of vulnerability assessment and guiding how research and policy can be linked to reduce vulnerability.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This book presents the state-of-the-art in vulnerability science ... an essential resource.'
Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Potsdam institute for Climate Impact Research

'Our understanding of vulnerability is changing rapidly through advances in both fundamental research and practical application. This book provides a rare bridge between the two, and will be an exciting stimulus to learning across the communities of science and policy.'
William C. Clark, Harvey brooks Professor of international Science, Public Policy and Human Development, Harvard University

'This book presents the state-of-the-art in vulnerability science, based on first-hand experience since this new field emerged - an essential resource for advanced students and scholars. Covering aspects of natural and social sciences, it discusses case studies from developed and developing countries.'
Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Potsdam institute for Climate Impact Research

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849711548
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Patt leads the Decisions and Governance Research Group in the Program on Risk and Vulnerability at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria. He has published extensively on climate vulnerability and climate adaptation in Africa.

Dagmar Schröter is currently scientific coordinator of a European Era-Net project on climate change adaptation. She has published extensively on global change vulnerability, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services.

Richard Klein coordinates climate policy research at the Stockholm Environment Institute. His research interests include methodological aspects of vulnerability assessment, societal adaptation to climate change, and integration of climate and development policy.

Anne Cristina de la Vega-Leinert is currently a researcher and lecturer in applied geography at Greifswald University, Germany. She investigates emergent synergies between biodiversity, development, food and human rights issues in the context of global change.

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Table of Contents

Forewords by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Rik Leemans

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

1 Vulnerability Research and Assessment to Support Adaptation and
Mitigation: Common Themes from the Diversity of Approaches
Anthony G.Patt, Dagmar Schröter, A.Cristina de la Vega-Leiner and Richard J.T. Klein

2 The House is Both Empty and Sad: Social Vulnerability, Environmental
Disturbance, Economic Change and the Irish Potato Famine
Evan D.G. Fraser

3 Vulnerability Assessments in the Developed World:The UK and
Ian Holman and Lars Otto Næss

4 Vulnerability Assessments in the Developing World: Mozambique and South Africa
Siri Eriksen, Coleen Vogel, Gina Ziervogel, Franziska Steinbruch and
Florence Nazare

5 Global Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise:
Experience from DINAS-COAST
Richard J.T. Klein and Jochen Hinkel

6 Our Vulnerability to Changes in Ecosystem Services
Dagmar Schröter

7 Assessing Vulnerability of Human Health
Hans-Martin Füssel and Kristie L. Ebi

8 Mapping Double Exposure to Climate Change and Trade
Liberalization as an Awareness-Raising Tool
Robin Leichenko and Karen O'Brien
1566.qxd 8/11/08 8:54 AM Page v

9 An Agent-Based Framework for Assessing Vulnerability Futures
Lilibeth Acosta-Michlik and Mark Rounsevell

10 Assessing Financial and Economic Vulnerability to Natural Hazards:
Bridging the Gap between Scientific Assessment and the
Implementation of Disaster Risk Management with the CatSim Model
Stefan Hochrainer and Reinhard Mechler

11 Evaluation of a Stakeholder Dialogue on European Vulnerability to Global Change
A. Cristina de la Vega-Leinert and Dagmar Schröter

12 Defining Dangerous Climate Change:The Beijing Exercise
Martin Welp, Antonella Battaglini and Carlo C. Jaeger

13 A Framework for Analysing Methodologies of Vulnerability
Jochen Hinkel


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