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Forecasting Societies Adaptive Capacities to Climate Change (FutureSoc)
Start date: Mar 1, 2009, End date: Jul 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This interdisciplinary project (combining social and earth sciences) addresses a key gap in the knowledge of global assessments concerning the likely consequences of future climate change on future human wellbeing. More information about the determinants of future adaptive capacity is necessary for setting policy priorities today: Should the significant funds allocated for adaptation be invested in enhancing existing infrastructure or currently practiced agricultural strategies (some of which may not be tenable under future climates), or should they invest alternatively in enhancing human empowerment through education and health which in consequence will enable affected societies to better cope with whatever challenges the future will bring? This study is expected to bring significant progress in this difficult multidisciplinary, yet highly relevant, field through a combination of: (a) New global science-based, long-term projections of human capital (population by age, sex and level of education) as a key element of adaptive capacity; (b) Three empirical multi-national studies on key factors involved in past vulnerability and adaptations to the Sahelian drought, Hurricane Mitch and the Asian tsunami; (c) Three prospective case studies assessing future adaptive capacity for the Phuket region, Mauritius and the Nicobar islands; (d) All held together and put into perspective by the elaboration of a new demographic theory of long-term social change with predictive power. This rather complex project structure is necessary for reaching generalizable and useful results. All components have been designed to complement each other to maximize the chances of achieving path-breaking and at the same time tangible results in this highly complex, multidisciplinary field. All components of the study will build on previous work of IIASA and Wolfgang Lutz and hence minimize the need to acquire additional experience for the case study sites or for the methodology used.

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