Climate Change 2001:
Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
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7.7. Science and Information Needs

Our ability to answer questions about climate change, vulnerability, and adaptation on the basis of research evidence is very limited for human settlements, energy, and industry. Energy has been regarded mainly as an issue for Working Group III, related more to causes of climate change than to impacts. Industry generally has been considered relatively insensitive to most primary climate change impacts, although some sectors (e.g., agroindustry) are dependent on supply streams that could be vulnerable to climate change impacts. Impacts of climate change on human settlements are hard to forecast, at least partly because the ability to project climate change at an urban or smaller scale has been so limited. As a result, more research is needed on impacts and adaptations in human settlements. Several activities also have been developed by governments in the area of "sustainable communities," which are designed primarily to reduce the impact of human settlements on the environment. Many of the actions recommended also reduce the vulnerability of settlements to global warming. Some areas of information required to support these programs have been identified by organizations such as the United Nations' International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR Secretariat), the ICLEI, and the U.S. President's Council on Sustainable Development. Others were identified during preparation of the FAR, SAR, RICC, and this report.

Table 7-3: Matrix of synergistic effects, by type of effect and settlement and industry type.a,b
Primary
Impact Mechanism
Migration
Synergistic Impact
Flooding,
Landslides, Fire
Mechanism, Settlement
Air and Water
Pollution
Type or Industry
Human
Health
Energy, Water,
Other Resources
Migration
-
U,RCS
U,RCS
U,RCS
U,E,A
Flooding , Landslides, Fire
U,RCS,TR
-
U,RD,RCS
U,RD,RCS
U,RD,RCS,TR
Air and Water Pollution
U,RCS
U,RD,RCS,RE
-
U,RD,RCS,RE,A
RE
Human Health
U
U,RD,RCS
U,RC,RE
-
U
Energy, Water,
Other Resources
U,RD,RCS,A
U,RD,RCS
U,RD,RCS
-
-
a Settlement types: RD = resource-dependent, RCS = riverine, coastal, steeplands, U = urban.
b Industry types: A = agroindustry, E = energy, TR = transportation, RE = recreation.

The highest priority needs for research on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities in human settlements are as follows:

Other key challenges to be faced include development of essential scientific and technical capacity in vulnerable regions, establishment and maintenance of adequate meteorological and hydrological monitoring networks, and improvement of seasonal and interannual prediction.



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