Pathway Design Approach

Description

In order to select the final list of options to be included in an adaptation strategy and thus, to be implemented, there are different approaches to aid determine the decision: prioritisation methods, risk decision analysis, feasibility analysis or adaptation pathways. These decision aid strategies not only list suitable options , but provide  additional information to best  select (and compare)   the options.  While prioritisation methods use monetary and non-monetary criteria to elucidate the most suitable options for the purpose of the adaptation plan, risk decision analysis highlights the best options to tackle the given risk. The feasibility approach selects the options based on how successfully an adaptation plan can be completed, accounting for factors that affect it such as economic, technological, legal and social. The adaptation pathway provides an analytical approach for exploring and sequencing a set of possible actions based on alternative external developments over time.

Use in decision framework

Identify interactions
Implementation plan – Determine timeline, roles and responsibilities

Input

The approach is comprehensive and more complex than a traditional scenario-strategy impact analysis. The required information depends on the climatic hazard or impact chain to be addressed. A general overview can be seen in Figure 1 and explained below.

Outline

Having collected all necessary information, a team of closely involved stakeholders should decide on the most optimal set of options to be implemented.

A main challenge with the pathway design is defining a step-by-step methodology for its design as different authors describes their methodologies superficially, therefore there is a lack of a clear step-by-step methodology proposal. Furthermore, the step-by-step methodology could be implemented with different level of detail: it can be applied quickly with less resolution (high level adaptation pathway), without existing empirical data or information and involving a small group of stakeholders; or it can be applied with high specificity and high resolution to develop a detailed adaptation pathway.

However, Mendizabal et al. (2017)1)Mendizabal, M., 2017. Transition Handbook. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 693729 proposes a pathway design methodology containing 5 general steps: Definition of objectives, pre-identification of an adaptation options list, development of adaptation pathway alternatives, recommendation of an adaptation pathway, implementation and monitoring. These general steps are composed of the following sub-steps (see Figure 1):

adaptation-pathway-approach

Figure 1. Adaptation Pathway approach followed in RAMSES

  • Analysis of the system (vulnerability & risks) and threshold definition (for the general step ”objectives”);
  • Review existing plans to identify adaptation assets, identify new options that complements the previous ones and characterise the adaptation options (for the general step “adaptation options”);
  • Group options, assess effectiveness and efficiency, sequence over time and identify tipping points (for the general step “develop pathway alternatives”);
  • Prioritisation and ranking (for the general step “recommend pathway”);

Mainstreaming and monitor indicators (for the general step “implement and monitor”).

Two key elements on the definition of pathway alternatives are the threshold (the moment that climate change renders policy untenable or results in conditions that society perceives as undesirable) and adaptation tipping or turning points (the points where the magnitudes of change due to climate change (e.g. sea level rise are such that the current strategy will no longer be able to meet the objectives and therefore new adaptation options need to be activated)2)Werners, S.E., Pfenninger, S., van Slobbe, E., Haasnoot, M., Kwakkel, J.H., Swart, R.J., 2013. Thresholds, tipping and turning points for sustainability under climate change. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 5, 334–340. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.06.005.

Output

It delivers a number of pathway alternatives that the receptor or municipality can choose from (Figure 2). The last step is to select the most “appropriate” adaptation pathway alternative or alternatives.

city-level-adaptation-pathway-example

Figure 2. Example of City Level Adaptation Pathway in which all the adaptation alternatives are included and different pathways are illustrated (with the arrows). In the bottom part the minimum temperature (ºC) acceptable threshold is presented and in the upper part the minimum temperature values in different time periods (reference, near future and far future). The adaptation options that are in light blue need to be implemented as soon as possible. The darker blue means that the adaptation options needs to be implemented in the near future. The dark blue represents the adaptation options that need to be implemented in the far future.

Experiences

No experiences available yet.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Mendizabal, M., 2017. Transition Handbook. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 693729
2. Werners, S.E., Pfenninger, S., van Slobbe, E., Haasnoot, M., Kwakkel, J.H., Swart, R.J., 2013. Thresholds, tipping and turning points for sustainability under climate change. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 5, 334–340. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.06.005