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WIREs Clim Change
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Science, decision‐making and development: managing the risks of climate variation in less‐industrialized countries

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This article addresses the role of scientific knowledge in decision‐making with respect to climate variability and change in the developing world, with a focus on scientific capacity. We propose a ‘systemic’ view of scientific capacity for studying the relationship between science and decision‐making vis‐à‐vis climate variation, one that encompasses knowledge production, as well as its translation for and use in decision‐making. We analyze the challenges faced by developing countries in building capacity on each of these elements. Case studies on the production and use of scientific information for societal decision‐making at three distinct timescales—the weekly scale (Hurricanes in the North Indian Ocean), the seasonal scale (Climate Variability in the Sahel), and the decadal/century scale (Climate Change Impacts on Small Island States) are used to elucidate the scale and complexity of capacity building challenges. We argue that capacity building for coping with the impacts of climate change is interwoven with the capacity needed for meeting the challenges of development, particularly those related to short‐term climate and weather variation. Any serious attempt to build scientific capacity for decision‐making vis‐à‐vis climate change will need to embrace a ‘developmentalist’ position. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 201–219 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.98

Figure 1.

National vulnerability to sea level rise across the Indo‐Pacific Oceans (rated by percentage of land area less than 10 m above sea level115) overlaid with locations and operational capacity of sea level rise (tide gauge) monitoring stations (Level 1: ‘Operational’ stations for which the latest data is 2005 or later; Level 2: ‘Probably operational’ stations for which the latest data is within the period 1995–2004; Level 3: ‘Historical’ stations for which the latest data is earlier than 1995; and Level 4: Stations for which no sea level data exists).116

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The Social Status of Climate Change Knowledge > Climate Science and Decision Making
Climate and Development > Knowledge and Action in Development

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