Box 174 Adaptation costs and benefits in the water management sector of South Africa

Callaway et al. (2006) provide estimates of water management adaptation costs and benefits in a case study of the Berg River basin in South Africa. Adaptation measures investigated include the establishment of an efficient water market and an increase in water storage capacity through the construction of a dam. Using a programming model which linked modules of urban and farm water demand to a hydrology module, the welfare related to water use (value for urban and farm use minus storage and transport cost) were estimated for the SRES B2 climate change scenario and the assumption of a 3% increase in urban water demand. Under these conditions and the current water allocation system, the discounted impact of climate change over the next 30 years was estimated to vary between 13.5 and 27.7 billion Rand. The net welfare benefits of adapting water storage capacity under current allocation rights were estimated at about 0.2 billion Rand, while adding water storage capacity in the presence of efficient water markets would yield adaptation benefits between 5.8 and 7 billion Rand. The authors also show that, under efficient water markets, the costs of not adapting to climate change that does occur outweigh the costs of adapting to climate change that does not occur.

N.B.: All monetary estimates are expressed in present values for constant Rand for the year 2000, discounting over 30 years at a real discount rate of 6%.

adapt health provisions to anticipated extreme events (Ebi et al.,

2005). Often, technological adaptations and innovations are developed through research programmes undertaken by governments and by the private sector (Smit and Skinner, 2002). Innovation, which refers to the development of new strategies or technologies, or the revival of old ones in response to new conditions (Bass, 2005), is an important aspect of adaptation, particularly under uncertain future climate conditions. Although technological capacity can be considered a key aspect of adaptive capacity, many technological responses to climate change are closely associated with a specific type of impact, such as higher temperatures or decreased rainfall.

New studies carried out since the TAR show that adaptive capacity is influenced not only by economic development and technology, but also by social factors such as human capital and governance structures (Klein and Smith, 2003; Brooks and Adger 2005; Nffiss et al., 2005; Tompkins, 2005; Berkhout et al., 2006; Eriksen and Kelly, 2007). Furthermore, recent analysis argues that adaptive capacity is not a concern unique to regions with low levels of economic activity. Although economic development may provide greater access to technology and resources to invest in adaptation, high income per capita is considered neither a necessary nor a sufficient indicator of the capacity to adapt to climate change (Moss et al., 2001). Tol and Yohe (2007) show that some elements of adaptive capacity are not substitutable: an economy will be as vulnerable as the 'weakest link' in its resources and adaptive capacity (for example with respect to natural disasters). Within both developed and developing countries, some regions, localities, or social groups have a lower adaptive capacity (O'Brien et al., 2006).

There are many examples where social capital, social networks, values, perceptions, customs, traditions and levels of cognition affect the capability of communities to adapt to risks related to climate change. Communities in Samoa in the south Pacific, for example, rely on informal non-monetary arrangements and social networks to cope with storm damage, along with livelihood diversification and financial remittances through extended family networks (Adger, 2001; Barnett, 2001; Sutherland et al., 2005). Similarly, strong local and international support networks enable communities in the Cayman Islands to recover from and prepare for tropical storms (Tompkins, 2005). Community organisation is an important factor in adaptive strategies to build resilience among hillside communities in Bolivia (Robledo et al., 2004). Recovery from hazards in Cuba is helped by a sense of communal responsibility (Sygna, 2005). Food-sharing expectations and networks in Nunavut, Canada, allow community members access to so-called country food at times when conditions make it unavailable to some (Ford et al.,

2006). The role of food sharing as a part of a community's capacity to adapt to risks in resource provisioning is also evident among native Alaskans (Magdanz et al., 2002). Adaptive migration options in the 1930s USA Dust Bowl were greatly influenced by the access households had to economic, social and cultural capital (McLeman and Smit, 2006). The cultural change and increased individualism associated with economic growth in Small Island Developing States has eroded the sharing of risk within extended families, thereby reducing the contribution of this social factor to adaptive capacity (Pelling and Uitto, 2001).

17.3.2 Differential adaptive capacity

The capacity to adapt to climate change is unequal across and within societies. There are individuals and groups within all societies that have insufficient capacity to adapt to climate change. As described above, there has been a convergence of findings in the literature showing that human and social capital are key determinants of adaptive capacity at all scales, and that they are as important as levels of income and technological capacity. However, most of this literature also argues that there is limited usefulness in looking at only one level or scale, and that exploring the regional and local context for adaptive capacity can provide insights into both constraints and opportunities.

17.3.2.1 Adaptive capacity is uneven across societies

There is some evidence that national-level indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity are used by climate change negotiators, practitioners, and decision makers in determining policies and allocating priorities for funding and interventions (Eriksen and Kelly, 2007). However, few studies have been globally comprehensive, and the literature lacks consensus on the usefulness of indicators of generic adaptive capacity and the robustness of the results (Downing et al., 2001; Moss et al., 2001; Yohe and Tol, 2002; Brooks et al., 2005; Haddad, 2005). A comparison of results across five vulnerability assessments shows that the 20 countries ranked 'most vulnerable' show little consistency across studies (Eriksen and Kelly, 2007). Haddad (2005) has shown empirically that the ranking of adaptive capacity of nations is significantly altered when national aspirations are made explicit. He demonstrates that different aspirations (e.g., seeking to maximise the welfare of citizens, to maintain control of citizens, or to reduce the vulnerability of the most vulnerable groups) lead to different weightings of the elements of adaptive capacity, and hence to different rankings of the actual capacity of countries to adapt. It has been argued that national indicators fail to capture many of the processes and contextual factors that influence adaptive capacity, and thus provide little insight on adaptive capacity at the level where most adaptations will take place (Eriksen and Kelly, 2007).

The specific determinants of adaptive capacity at the national level thus represent an area of contested knowledge. Some studies relate adaptive capacity to levels of national development, including political stability, economic well-being, human and social capital and institutions (AfDB et al., 2003). National-level adaptive capacity has also been represented by proxy indicators for economic capacity, human and civic resources and environmental capacity (Moss et al., 2001). Alberini et al. (2006) use expert judgement based on a conjoint choice survey of climate and health experts to examine the most important attributes of adaptive capacity and find that per capita income, inequality in the distribution of income, universal health care coverage, and high access to information are the most important attributes allowing a country to adapt to health-related risks. Coefficients on these rankings were used to construct an index of countries with highest to lowest adaptive capacity.

173.22 Adaptive capacity is uneven within nations due to multiple stresses

The capacity to adapt to climate change is not evenly distributed within nations. Adaptive capacity is highly differentiated within countries, because multiple processes of change interact to influence vulnerability and shape outcomes from climate change (Leichenko and O'Brien, 2002; Dow et al., 2006; Smit and Wandel, 2006; Ziervogel et al., 2006). In India, for example, both climate change and market liberalisation for agricultural commodities are changing the context for agricultural production. Some farmers may be able to adapt to these changing conditions, including discrete events such as drought and rapid changes in commodity prices, while other farmers may experience predominately negative outcomes. Mapping vulnerability of the agricultural sector to both climate change and trade liberalisation at the district level in India, O'Brien et al. (2004) considered adaptive capacity as a key factor that influences outcomes. A combination of biophysical, socio-economic and technological conditions were considered to influence the capacity to adapt to changing environmental and economic conditions. The biophysical factors included soil quality and depth, and groundwater availability, whereas socio-economic factors consisted of measures of literacy, gender equity, and the percentage of farmers and agricultural wage labourers in a district. Technological factors were captured by the availability of irrigation and the quality of infrastructure. Together, these factors provide an indication of which districts are most and least able to adapt to drier conditions and variability in the Indian monsoons, as well as to respond to import competition resulting from liberalised agricultural trade. The results of this vulnerability mapping show the districts that have 'double exposure' to both processes. It is notable that districts located along the Indo-Gangetic Plains are less vulnerable to both processes, relative to the interior parts of the country (see Figure 17.2).

173.23 Social and economic processes determine the distribution of adaptive capacity

A significant body of new research focuses on specific contextual factors that shape vulnerability and adaptive capacity, influencing how they may evolve over time. These place-based studies provide insights on the conditions that constrain or enhance adaptive capacity at the continental, regional or local scales (Leichenko and O'Brien, 2002; Allison et al., 2005; Schröter et al., 2005; Belliveau et al., 2006). These studies differ from the regional and global indicator studies assessed above both in approach and methods, yet come to complementary conclusions on the state and distribution of adaptive capacity.

The lessons from studies of local-level adaptive capacity are context-specific, but the weight of studies establishes broad lessons on adaptive capacity of individuals and communities. The nature of the relationships between community members is critical, as is access to and participation in decision-making processes. In areas such as coastal zone management, the expansion of social networks has been noted as an important element in developing more robust management institutions (Tompkins et al., 2002). Local groups and individuals often feel their powerlessness in many ways, although none so much as in the lack of access to decision makers. A series of studies has

Figure 17.2. Districts in India that rank highest in terms of vulnerability to: (a) climate change and (b) import competition associated with economic globalisation, are considered to be double exposed (depicted with hatching). Adapted from O'Brien et al. (2004).

shown that successful community-based resource management, for example, can potentially enhance the resilience of communities as well as maintain ecosystem services and ecosystem resilience (Tompkins and Adger, 2004; Manuta and Lebel, 2005; Owuor et al., 2005; Ford et al., 2006) and that this constitutes a major priority for the management of ecosystems under stress (such as coral reefs) (Hughes et al., 2003,2005).

Much new research emphasises that adaptive capacity is also highly heterogeneous within a society or locality, and for human populations it is differentiated by age, class, gender, health and social status. Ziervogel et al. (2006) undertook a comparative study between households and communities in South Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and Mexico and showed how vulnerability to food insecurity is common across the world in semi-arid areas where marginal groups rely on rain-fed agriculture. Across the case studies food insecurity was not determined solely or primarily by climate, but rather by a range of social, economic, and political factors linked to physical risks. Box 17.5 describes how adaptive capacity and vulnerability to climate change impacts are different for men and women, with gender-related vulnerability particularly apparent in resource-dependent societies and in the impacts of extreme weather-related events (see also Box 8.2).

17.3.3 Changes in adaptive capacity over time

Adaptive capacity at any one scale may be facilitated or constrained by factors outside the system in question. At the local scale, such constraints may take the form of regulations or

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