Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Paralysis by analysis should not delay decisions on climate change, experts urge

Date:
November 27, 2012
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Uncertainty about how much the climate is changing is not a reason to delay preparing for the harmful impacts of climate change says an expert.

Uncertainty about how much the climate is changing is not a reason to delay preparing for the harmful impacts of climate change says Professor Jim Hall of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford and colleagues at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, writing in Nature Climate Change.

The costs of adapting to climate change, sea-level and flooding include the upfront expenses of upgrading infrastructure, installing early-warning systems, and effective organisations, as well as the costs of reducing risk, such as not building on flood plains.

Robert Nicholls, Professor of Coastal Engineering at the University of Southampton and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, says: "Some impacts of climate change are now inevitable, so it is widely agreed that we must adapt. But selecting and funding adaptation remains a challenge."

Professor Nicholls and his co-authors describe two ways of assessing how much adaptation to climate change is enough by balancing the risk of climate change against the cost of adaptation. First they describe cost-benefit analysis where the cost of the adaptation has to be less than the benefit of risk reduction. Alternatively, decision makers can seek the most cost-effective way of maintaining a tolerable level of risk. This approach is easier for policymakers to understand, but thresholds of tolerable risk from climate change are not well defined.

The Thames Estuary Gateway is the only place in the UK where a level of protection against flooding is defined in law -- a 1 in 1000 year standard of protection which needs to be maintained with rising sea levels. The authors conclude that adaptation decisions need exploration across a variety of different interpretations of risk, not a single answer.

"Like all complex problems several perspectives are needed and any single answer would misrepresent the uncertainty, but let us not let paralysis by analysis be an obstacle to action on adaptation," says Professor Hall.

"Adaptation decisions have further benefits. The tenfold increase in the Netherlands standard of flood protection proposed in 2008 has sent a message to global business that the Netherlands will be open in the future, come what may," adds Professor Nicholls.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jim W. Hall, Sally Brown, Robert J. Nicholls, Nick F. Pidgeon, Robert T. Watson. Proportionate adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 2012; 2 (12): 833 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1749

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Paralysis by analysis should not delay decisions on climate change, experts urge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127094109.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2012, November 27). Paralysis by analysis should not delay decisions on climate change, experts urge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127094109.htm
University of Southampton. "Paralysis by analysis should not delay decisions on climate change, experts urge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127094109.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins