Get access

Some Forward Looking Thoughts on Studying Climate Adaptation for an Uncertain Future—A Postscript Editorial Comment


  • Gary W. Yohe

    1. Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Special acknowledgment is due to Abby T. Madigan for help in revising this paper.

Yohe: Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459, USA. E-mail:


This postscript highlights questions that are particularly germane for thinking about how to use modern, state of the art investigations of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability to advance a broader decision-supporting research agenda. They are drawn from the fundamental conclusion from the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—“Responding to climate change involves an iterative risk management process that includes both adaptation and mitigation . . . .” They are:

  • 1How do we mainstream climate adaptation into decision-making with multiple stresses?
  • 2Are we now at a juncture where we can begin to calibrate the value of mitigation over the short to medium term?
  • 3How do we know, as is often claimed, that adaptive capacity will be overwhelmed by unabated climate change?
  • 4What does “iterative” mean in practice?

This collection of essays might show the way so that, in 5 or 10 years time, we have better answers.

Get access to the full text of this article