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Kriegler E.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Edmonds J.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Hallegatte S.,The World Bank | Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC | And 5 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

The new scenario framework facilitates the coupling of multiple socioeconomic reference pathways with climate model products using the representative concentration pathways. This will allow for improved assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation. Assumptions about climate policy play a major role in linking socioeconomic futures with forcing and climate outcomes. The paper presents the concept of shared climate policy assumptions as an important element of the new scenario framework. Shared climate policy assumptions capture key policy attributes such as the goals, instruments and obstacles of mitigation and adaptation measures, and introduce an important additional dimension to the scenario matrix architecture. They can be used to improve the comparability of scenarios in the scenario matrix. Shared climate policy assumptions should be designed to be policy relevant, and as a set to be broad enough to allow a comprehensive exploration of the climate change scenario space. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013.

van Vuuren D.P.,PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | van Vuuren D.P.,University Utrecht | Kriegler E.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | O'Neill B.C.,U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research | And 8 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

This paper describes the scenario matrix architecture that underlies a framework for developing new scenarios for climate change research. The matrix architecture facilitates addressing key questions related to current climate research and policy-making: identifying the effectiveness of different adaptation and mitigation strategies (in terms of their costs, risks and other consequences) and the possible trade-offs and synergies. The two main axes of the matrix are: 1) the level of radiative forcing of the climate system (as characterised by the representative concentration pathways) and 2) a set of alternative plausible trajectories of future global development (described as shared socio-economic pathways). The matrix can be used to guide scenario development at different scales. It can also be used as a heuristic tool for classifying new and existing scenarios for assessment. Key elements of the architecture, in particular the shared socio-economic pathways and shared policy assumptions (devices for incorporating explicit mitigation and adaptation policies), are elaborated in other papers in this special issue. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013.

O'Neill B.C.,U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research | Kriegler E.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Riahi K.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC | And 5 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

The new scenario framework for climate change research envisions combining pathways of future radiative forcing and their associated climate changes with alternative pathways of socioeconomic development in order to carry out research on climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation. Here we propose a conceptual framework for how to define and develop a set of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) for use within the scenario framework. We define SSPs as reference pathways describing plausible alternative trends in the evolution of society and ecosystems over a century timescale, in the absence of climate change or climate policies. We introduce the concept of a space of challenges to adaptation and to mitigation that should be spanned by the SSPs, and discuss how particular trends in social, economic, and environmental development could be combined to produce such outcomes. A comparison to the narratives from the scenarios developed in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) illustrates how a starting point for developing SSPs can be defined. We suggest initial development of a set of basic SSPs that could then be extended to meet more specific purposes, and envision a process of application of basic and extended SSPs that would be iterative and potentially lead to modification of the original SSPs themselves. © The Author(s) 2013.

Remais J.V.,Emory University | Hess J.J.,Emory University | Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC | Markandya A.,Ikerbasque | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2014

Background: Policy decisions regarding climate change mitigation are increasingly incorporating the beneficial and adverse health impacts of greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies. Studies of such co-benefits and co-harms involve modeling approaches requiring a range of analytic decisions that affect the model output. Objective: Our objective was to assess analytic decisions regarding model framework, structure, choice of parameters, and handling of uncertainty when modeling health co-benefits, and to make recommendations for improvements that could increase policy uptake. Methods: We describe the assumptions and analytic decisions underlying models of mitigation co-benefits, examining their effects on modeling outputs, and consider tools for quantifying uncertainty. Discussion: There is considerable variation in approaches to valuation metrics, discounting methods, uncertainty characterization and propagation, and assessment of low-probability/high-impact events. There is also variable inclusion of adverse impacts of mitigation policies, and limited extension of modeling domains to include implementation considerations. Going forward, co-benefits modeling efforts should be carried out in collaboration with policy makers; these efforts should include the full range of positive and negative impacts and critical uncertainties, as well as a range of discount rates, and should explicitly characterize uncertainty. We make recommendations to improve the rigor and consistency of modeling of health co-benefits. Conclusion: Modeling health co-benefits requires systematic consideration of the suitability of model assumptions, of what should be included and excluded from the model framework, and how uncertainty should be treated. Increased attention to these and other analytic decisions has the potential to increase the policy relevance and application of co-benefits modeling studies, potentially helping policy makers to maximize mitigation potential while simultaneously improving health.

Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC | Yohe G.,Wesleyan University
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2013

Mitigation policies have traditionally been evaluated from the perspective of first-best worlds that have perfect foresight and full and immediate policy implementation. Adaptation assessments typically consider second-best worlds that incorporate the realities of market imperfections, institutional and informational constraints, delayed policy implementation, and other issues. As mitigation analyses increasingly consider the potential effectiveness of policies implemented under second-best world assumptions, it strikes us that their use of first-best and second-best benchmarks is becoming increasingly valuable. It also strikes us that adding the perspective of first-best worlds to adaptation analyses would do the same by providing comparable baselines for national and international assessments integrating the costs and benefits of adaptation and mitigation policies. In addition, adaptation analyses under first-best world assumptions could provide valuable information to policymakers on what could be achieved under ideal conditions. It would be very informative for science and policy to understand the benefits, trade-offs, human and financial resource requirements, and residual damages under first-best and second-best assumptions about the rate, extent, and timing of implementation of climate policies. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC | Mills D.,Stratus Consulting
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change | Year: 2013

In temperate climates, mortality is higher in the winter than the summer. Most wintertime deaths are attributed to cardiovascular and respiratory disease, with hypothermia from extreme cold accounting for a negligible share of all recorded deaths. International and national assessments of the health risks of climate change often conclude that increased temperatures from climate change will likely reduce winter mortality. This article examines the support for this hypothesis. We find that although there is a physiological basis for increased cardiovascular and respiratory disease mortality during winter months, the limited evidence suggests cardiovascular disease mortality is only weakly associated with temperature. Although respiratory disease mortality shows a stronger seasonal relationship with colder temperatures, cold alone does not explain infection rates. Further, respiratory disease mortality is a relatively small proportion of winter deaths. Therefore, assuming no changes in acclimatization and the degree to which temperature-related deaths are prevented, climate change may alter the balance of deaths between winters and summers, but is unlikely to dramatically reduce overall winter mortality rates. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wilbanks T.J.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) offer benefits for communities concerned with climate change adaptation research and actions (IAV), but some challenges need to be overcome in order to facilitate active IAV involvement in SSP use. This essay summarizes potential benefits, challenges, and possible strategies for enhancing the value of the SSP approach for IAV communities. Uses of the Shared Socioeconomics Pathways (SSPs) and the new climate scenarios by the climate change impact, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) research communities have been very limited because of a combination of the characteristics of most IAV research and the framing of SSPs at the outset. Recent refinements of the SSP framework should improve IAV receptivity to the SSP perspectives and tools and encourage engagement in the scenario development process, and ways can be suggested to accelerate this process; but a number of challenges remain to be addressed, many of them by the IAV communities themselves rather than by the SSP development process per se. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013.

Bowen K.J.,Australian National University | Bowen K.J.,University of Melbourne | Ebi K.,ClimAdapt LLC | Friel S.,Australian National University | McMichael A.J.,Australian National University
Global Health Action | Year: 2013

Background: Addressing climate change and its associated effects is a multi-dimensional and ongoing challenge. This includes recognizing that climate change will affect the health and wellbeing of all populations over short and longer terms, albeit in varied ways and intensities. That recognition has drawn attention to the need to take adaptive actions to lessen adverse impacts over the next few decades from unavoidable climate change, particularly in developing country settings. A range of sectors is responsible for appropriate adaptive policies and measures to address the health risks of climate change, including health services, water and sanitation, trade, agriculture, disaster management, and development. Objectives: To broaden the framing of governance and decision-making processes by using innovative methods and assessments to illustrate the multi-sectoral nature of health-related adaptation to climate change. This is a shift from sector-specific to multi-level systems encompassing sectors and actors, across temporal and spatial scales. Design: A review and synthesis of the current knowledge in the areas of health and climate change adaptation governance and decision-making processes. Results: A novel framework is presented that incorporates social science insights into the formulation and implementation of adaptation activities and policies to lessen the health risks posed by climate change. Conclusion: Clarification of the roles that different sectors, organizations, and individuals occupy in relation to the development of health-related adaptation strategies will facilitate the inclusion of health and wellbeing within multi-sector adaptation policies, thereby strengthening the overall set of responses to minimize the adverse health effects of climate change. © 2013 Kathryn J. Bowen et al.

Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2014

The climate change research community is developing a toolkit for creating new scenarios to explore and evaluate the extensive uncertainties associated with future climate change and development pathways. Components of the toolkit include pathways for greenhouse gas emissions over this century and their associated magnitude and pattern of climate change; descriptions of a range of possible socioeconomic development pathways, including qualitative narratives and quantitative elements; and climate change policies to achieve specific levels of radiative forcing and levels of adaptive capacity. These components are combined within a matrix architecture to create a scenario. Five reference socioeconomic development pathways have been described along axes describing increasing socioeconomic and environmental challenges to adaptation and to mitigation. This paper extends these global pathways to describe their possible consequences for public health and health care, and considers the additional elements that could be added to increase the relevance of the new scenarios to address a wider range of policy relevant questions than previously possible. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Ebi K.L.,ClimAdapt LLC
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

First principles suggest that climate change is affecting human health, based on what is understood about the relationships between the mean and variability of temperature, precipitation, and other weather variables and climate-sensitive health outcomes, and the magnitude of climate change that has occurred. However, the complexity of these relationships and the multiple drivers of climate-sensitive health outcomes makes the detection and attribution of changing disease patterns to climate change very challenging. Nevertheless, efforts to do so are vital for informing policy and for prioritizing adaptation and mitigation options. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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