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Scenarios as the basis for assessment of mitigation and adaptation

By D. P. van Vuuren, M. Isaac, Z. Kundzewicz, Nigel Arnell, T Barker, P Criqui, N Bauer, F Berkhout, H Hilderink, J Hinkel, A Hof, A Kitous, T Kram, R Mechler and S Scrieciu


The possibilities and need for adaptation and mitigation depends on uncertain future developments with respect to socio-economic factors and the climate system. Scenarios are used to explore the impacts of different strategies under uncertainty. In this chapter, some scenarios are presented that are used in the ADAM project for this purpose. One scenario explores developments with no mitigation, and thus with high temperature increase and high reliance on adaptation (leading to 4oC increase by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels). A second scenario explores an ambitious mitigation strategy (leading to 2oC increase by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels). In the latter scenario, stringent mitigation strategies effectively reduces the risks of climate change, but based on uncertainties in the climate system a temperature increase of 3oC or more cannot be excluded. The analysis shows that, in many cases, adaptation and mitigation are not trade-offs but supplements. For example, the number of people exposed to increased water resource stress due to climate change can be substantially reduced in the mitigation scenario, but even then adaptation will be required for the remaining large numbers of people exposed to increased stress. Another example is sea level rise, for which adaptation is more cost-effective than mitigation, but mitigation can help reduce damages and the cost of adaptation. For agriculture, finally, only the scenario based on a combination of adaptation and mitigation is able to avoid serious climate change impacts

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:16347

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