Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 229–238

A process for evaluating anticipatory adaptation measures for climate change


  • J. B. Smith
    • Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc.
  • S. E. Ragland
    • Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc.
  • G. J. Pitts
    • Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00175568

Cite this article as:
Smith, J.B., Ragland, S.E. & Pitts, G.J. Water Air Soil Pollut (1996) 92: 229. doi:10.1007/BF00175568


Many countries are preparing national climate change action plans that describe specific measures they are taking to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the potential effects of climate change. Among the reasons for preparing such plans are that climate change is likely to occur, and many anticipatory measures that would be taken in response to climate change are “no regret” measures that will produce benefits even if climate does not change. Additionally, these plans can serve as communications required by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. We propose here an assessment process for anticipatory adaptation measures that will enable countries to identify and select measures to adapt to climate change. These measures anticipate potential climate changes and are flexible enough to meet objectives under a wide variety of future climate conditions. The process builds on assessments of vulnerability by focusing on adaptation measures for the most sensitive regions, or populations, within a country. Potential anticipatory adaptation measures are identified, and two or three are chosen based on expert judgment and analysis regarding which measures would produce the greatest benefits and be easiest to implement. Analytic techniques are used to assess the benefits and costs of each of the measures and evaluate barriers to implementation. The measure that is most cost-effective and is easiest to implement is selected. We illustrate the application of the process by examining a hypothetical forest threatened by climate change.

Key words

adaptationbenefit-cost analysiscost-effectiveness analysismulticriteria analysis

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996