ACDI Seminar: Robust Approaches to Adaptation


Wednesday 10 April: Joseph Darron will be speaking on Robust Approaches to Adaptation

Please join us for a lunch-time, weekly seminar series as we hear from and engage with various researchers and practitioners working at the cutting edge in the field of climate change impacts & adaptation.

Where: Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Studio 5, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town.

In guiding societal responses to the altered climate risks associated with future climate change, we often rely on the output of highly complicated computer simulation models. While these models have provided a firm evidence base to inform global mitigation policy, the information content required to reliably inform regional and local climate change adaptation is, arguably, well beyond what can currently be provided. Computational constraints and model inadequacies, coupled with modes of long-term climate variability and limited understanding of how climate change affects social, economic and natural systems means that adaptation decisions are being made in the face of “deep” uncertainties. In this context, how then should we frame adaptation decisions and ultimately prioritize adaptation options? In this seminar, the concept of “robust” adaptation will be discussed, where the emphasis is on determining those solutions which are least sensitive to underlying climatic and non-climatic uncertainties. Results from a recently submitted paper titled, “Challenges in using a Robust Decision Making approach to guide climate change adaptation in South Africa”, will be presented. The research aims to investigate whether Robust Decision Making (a formal decision-theoretic approach) can be applied in different contexts, and specifically within developing countries.

Bio: Joseph departed the UK and arrived in Cape Town about 18 months ago to work as a postdoc in the Climate System Analysis Group at UCT. He studied meteorology at the University of Reading in the UK and spent a further year at the University of Oklahoma in the US where he became increasingly interested in the climate science-policy interface. After a brief period as an intern for an ethical investment company in London he began a PhD, sponsored by Lloyd’s of London, investigating the use of climate model information by the insurance industry. Joseph began his PhD at the University of Exeter in 2007 but moved to the London School of Economics in 2009 to join his supervisor David Stainforth. During this time, he spent six months working in the Climate Impacts Team at the UK Met Office. In his current role, Joseph is exploring methods and approaches to communicate climate information to the user community and has a particular interest in the interpretation of climate change uncertainties in developing country adaptation decisions.

Who to expect next :

17 April: Gregg Oelofse “Adaptation issues facing the City of Cape Town

24 April: Lorena Pasquini “Local Government and Climate Adaptation

8 May: Susie Cunningham “Feeling the heat: consequences of rising temperatures for desert birds

15 May: Richard Calland “Financing Adaptation

Future Speakers :

Tessa Oliver “The GEF Fynbos Fire project: Reducing the risks from wildland fire hazards associated with Climate Change in South Africa”

Sarshen Marais “Vulnerability mapping and EBA in Namaqua”

* Light snacks will be served on a first-come-first-serve basis