Local Sustainability Volume 2, 2012, pp 295-304
Date: 18 Apr 2012

Decision-Making Frameworks for Adaptation to Extremes in Two Local Government Areas: Comparing and Contrasting India and Australia

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Abstract

Local governments have recognized the need to adapt to climate extremes. Decision-makers at this level thus require a guide to decide on adaptation actions under an unsure future. This chapter explores methods to choose better adaptation options for climate extremes at the local government level, even as uncertainty among climate change projections persists. As such, two local governments in widely different geographic areas are featured – one from a developed nation (Ku-ring-gai, eastern Australia) and another from a rapidly developing nation (Kochi, southern India). The limits of economic evaluations and the significance of qualitative tools under an unsure environment are discussed within the two local contexts. Furthermore, the applicability of recent literature that deals with uncertainty is also studied. For example, some studies choose options that are robust under the best and worst case scenarios, while others choose the ‘no regret options’ that are justified under all plausible future scenarios. Other criteria for determining adaptation options include the net benefits of the options, urgency of the options, co-benefits of the options and reversibility and flexibility of options. Various evaluation criteria are tested in the two locations to develop a realistic decision-making framework that can rank options for extreme climatic events.