Adaptation to Climate Change: Decision Making

  • Young-Oh Kim
  • Eun Sung Chung


In spite of the recent global effort in mitigating greenhouse gases, the temperature of the earth continues to increase because we are already committed past emissions. Therefore, adapting to the changing climate is an immediate challenge that requires choosing a successful strategy. This chapter reviews classical decision-making methods and discusses their limitations when applied to climate change adaptation planning. Three novel decision-making methods, robust decision making (RDM), real option analysis (ROA), and dynamic adaptive policy pathways (DAPP), are discussed, and their applications are then introduced in water resources planning under different climate change scenarios. Such methods should be either “robust” or “adaptive” for decision makers to capture the nonstationary and uncertain characteristics of climate change. As its name indicates, the RDM method focuses on the “robust” perspective and chooses an alternative that performs satisfactorily over a wide range of scenarios. In contrast, both the ROA and DAPP methods focus on the “adaptive” perspective and have a decision tree framework where risk is spread over time. ROA allows decision makers to delay or abandon the chosen alternative rather than just implementing it without modification, while DAPP introduces the tipping point concept that offers a systematic way of when to switch between alternatives. However, these advanced decision-making methods are resource intensive; thus, a continuous administrative effort and institutional as well as technical supports are required for their success in the climate change era.


Adaptation Climate change Decision making Dynamic adaptive policy pathways Robust decision making Real options 



This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (NRF-2013R1A1A2073677) and also supported by a grant from Advanced Water Management Research Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (14WMP-B082564-01) of Korea. Special thanks goes to Professor Joern Birkmann of University of Stuttgart and LG Yonam Foundation who supported the sabbatical leave of the first author when a major part of this chapter was written.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil & Environmental EngineeringSeoul National UniversityGwanak-guRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringSeoul National University of Science and TechnologyNowon-guRepublic of Korea

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