This Working Paper on Climate Change is one of a series of 10 papers published alongside DFID's Research Strategy 2008-2013. It presents the case for DFID-funded research on Climate Change - drawing on the responses given during a global consultation that DFID convened in 2007 about its future research.
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to development and will remain so for decades to come. Although there are significant gaps in our understanding of regional impacts, it is clear that poor countries will be affected first and worst and poor people will be most exposed and vulnerable.
Both mitigation and adaptation are necessary, and on a global scale. Adaptation research is needed to develop strategies to cope with the climate change that the world is already committed to, based on past emissions and future trajectories. Developing countries need assistance to adapt to worsening droughts, crop failures, water shortages, rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms, and extinction of species. Mitigation aims to stabilize CO2 levels below a threshold that reduces the likelihood of abrupt climate change and lowers the need for adaptation. Given the scale of the challenge, this will require a substantial increase in public and private funding for energy technology research, development and demonstration, and accessibility to developing countries.
A new global deal is needed post-2012 to facilitate and accelerate action to tackle climate change, one that all countries will sign up to and implement. Part of this will involve adapting to climate change impacts we are able to predict; the other part is building a low-carbon global economy. Faster, wider, and more coordinated uptake of existing and new strategies is needed, and policies will need to take account of adaptation across different sectors and different population groups to be most effective.
Climate change will continue to be a priority in the new Research Strategy, with a view to DFID stepping up its work with other UK and international partners to leverage world-class expertise and funding for research to support developing countries in tackling climate change and contributing to a low carbon global economy. Rapid expansion is proposed to cover four new priority themes: Improving accessibility of climate science, scenarios, and impacts and vulnerabilities at regional, sub-regional, and national level, particularly in Africa; Embedding climate change in international, regional and national policy frameworks and overcoming obstacles to collective action; Expanding work on adaptation to strengthen decision making and implementation of adaptation options; and Investigating mitigation options and low carbon growth pathways.
This paper sets out: DFID's current research programmes on climate change, the results of an extensive, 9-month consultation across DFID and with our partners in the UK and in 7 countries, and for each of the chosen themes, the current state of knowledge, why this issue is a priority, and how DFID proposes to take forward research in this area.
DFID, London, UK, 24 pp.