Climatic Change

, 91:123

Worst case scenario as stakeholder decision support: a 5- to 6-m sea level rise in the Rhone delta, France


    • Institut Symlog
  • Claire Mays
    • Institut Symlog
  • Gabriela Pfeifle
    • Institut Symlog
    • Université Toulouse 2 - Le Mirail
  • Athanasios T. Vafeidis
    • Department of GeographyUniversity of the Aegean

DOI: 10.1007/s10584-008-9446-5

Cite this article as:
Poumadère, M., Mays, C., Pfeifle, G. et al. Climatic Change (2008) 91: 123. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9446-5


Risk policy and public attitudes appear disconnected from research predicting warmer climate partially due to human activity. To step out of this stalled situation, a worst case scenario of a 5- to 6-m sea level rise (SLR) induced by the collapse of the WAIS and occurring during the period 2030–2130 is constructed and applied to the Rhone delta. Physical and socio-economic scenarios developed with data from the Rhone delta context are developed and submitted to stakeholders for a day-long workshop. Group process analysis shows a high level of trust and cooperation mobilized to face the 5–6 m SLR issue, despite potentially diverging interests. Two sets of recommendations stem from the scenario workshop. A conservative “wait and see” option is decided when the risk of the WAIS collapse is announced in 2030. After WAIS collapse generates an effective 1 m SLR rise by 2050, decisions are taken for total retreat and rendering of the Rhone delta to its hydrological function. The transposition of these results into present-day policy decisions could be considered. The methodology developed here could be applied to other risk objects and situations, and serve for policy exercises and crisis prevention.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008