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Current research at the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) on the societal dimensions of climate impacts and adaptation in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) includes:
Institutional Adaptation to Climate Impacts
- Snake River Case Study: Institutions, Adaptation, the Prior Appropriation Doctrine, and the Development of Water Markets. The water resource implications of climate change raise the question of how well water institutions in the Western United States might be expected to adapt to changed volume or timing of water flows. Within that context, it would helpful to know what institutional structures are conducive to adaptation, and to what extent new or changed institutions might be required or expected to emerge. In particular, the study examines whether the prior appropriation doctrine is a hindrance to change or alternatively provides the legal underpinnings for an emerging market. The study examines these questions in the context of the Snake River in southern Idaho, with a comparison to the Klamath River in Oregon. See related research on climate impacts to the Snake River Basin...
Economic Impacts of Climate Change
- Examining the economic effects of climate change impacts on the Hells Canyon (Idaho) Hydropower Complex. This analysis examines the economic effects of climate change as it is expressed through the existing institutional and economic structure of hydropower production and water management in the Hells Canyon Complex.
- Analyzing the impact of climate change on market return-on-investment calculations for public/private investment: Case study of PNW ski areas. Warmer winter temperatures projected under climate change imply later opening and earlier closing dates for ski areas. Shorter ski seasons can have a significant impact on the economic viability of ski resorts. This study examines the economics of shorter ski seasons and the impact of artificial snow-making.
Interviews with PNW Natural Resource Managers
- Perspectives on utilizing climate information: Interviews with PNW natural resource managers. CIG is interviewing regional natural resource managers in the water resources, fisheries, forests, and coastal zone sectors about their understanding and use of climate forecasts and other climate information in regional resource management. This series of interviews will be compared to those undertaken by CIG in 1996-1997 to document the changes in the use of climate information that have occurred since that time.
- Environmental Regime Effectiveness: Confronting Theory with Evidence, by Edward L. Miles, Arild
Underdal, Steinar Andresen, Jorgen Wettestad, Jon Birger Skjaerseth, and Elaine M. Carlin. (Cambridge,
Massachusetts: MIT Press, 508 pp, 2002.).
This book, written in conjunction with a Norwegian research team from the University of Oslo and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, focuses on the evaluation of the conditions that make for effective performance of international environmental regimes. Based on fourteen case studies, the authors conclude that environmental regimes do make a positive difference but most fail to achieve optimal solutions. The most important conditions of high effectiveness are political entrepreneurship combined with high institutional problem solving capacity. The most deadly combination of conditions leading to low effectiveness occurs when there is substantial uncertainty about the seriousness and causes of the problem juxtaposed with a politically malign configuration of interests emphasizing competition and conflict. This work has transferability to the performance of domestic environmental regimes as well, particularly as regards adaptive capacity and resilience.