Climate change adaptation is increasingly as much about changes to behaviour as it is about technological responses such as building flood defences or planting drought-resistent crops. We need a stronger integration of our knowledge about adaptation solutions that includes our knowledge of how individuals and communities embrace new systems, technologies and social norms.
UKCIP strongly believes that its continuing focus on knowledge exchange will provide a route forward. Knowledge exchange works best by bringing together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to share their knowledge and experiences, and to develop innovative and well-informed ways to deliver services and outcomes in world (and a climate) that is changing.
In a shared adaptation space, participants can all bring their knowledge to bear on a common problem, and find benefits in understanding each others’ constraints and perspectives.
It’s also an opportunity to build consensus around the need for adaptation, at a time when the ‘age of austerity’ remains the dominant mantra. Issues associated with climate change have become less of a public priority in recent years, and adaptation – so often lost in the call for mitigation – is now often at the margins of policy and action. It sometimes seems as if only flood risk (understandably headline-grabbing) remains a serious issue for discussion.
UKCIP’s work is helping to revise the case for adaptation, and we believe that by engaging research, policy and practice, together we can develop a richer understanding of the need for, and the opportunities and constraints that surround our adaptation choices. We want to extend the adaptation vocabulary beyond ‘resilience’ to find positive approaches consistent with the challenges we face. Adaptation research should incorporate the creativity to embrace and experiment with well-informed and innovative ideas that can also get public support and will provide good adaptation solutions for our communities.