Goals Of Impact Studies

Many of the climate change studies done to date, particularly the early ones, were undertaken to aid national policymakers to assess the significance of global climate change and its implications for broad regions as well as for whole countries. These studies are thus "policy relevant" in the sense that they may contribute to national decisions on whether and how to participate in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. Questions here revolve around how serious the ultimate warming may be; who may be the "winners and losers"; and what the potential is for adaptation in broad-brush terms.

Recently, attention has been turning to how to respond to global climate change, including more detailed explorations of adaptation strategies and adaptive capacities at finer spatial scales — even down to individual villages. Many of these adaptation studies are focused on defining vulnerability and represent a link between the experience of current climate extremes, disaster management, and potential decadal-to-century warming. A further shift in focus involves the potential role of carbon sequestration in climate change mitigation, and to what extent this can reduce the anthropogenic buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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