Project ICAD – Advancing Knowledge Systems to Inform Climate Adaptation Decisions

Date: 8 May 2013
Speaker(s): Suraje Dessai, Geoff Whitman and James Porter
Venue: University of Leeds

Part of the CCCEP Lunchtime Seminar Series 2012-13 at University of Leeds

Adaptation to climate variability and change represents an important challenge for the sustainable development of society. Informing climate-related decisions will require new kinds of information and new ways of thinking and learning to function effectively in a changing climate. Currently, we lack the critical understanding of which kinds of knowledge systems can most effectively harness science and technology for long-term sustainable adaptation.

Project ICAD aims to significantly advance knowledge systems to enable society to adapt effectively to an uncertain climate. The project is divided into two domains:

  1. Understanding climate information needs across society;
  2. The social status of techno-scientific knowledge in adaptation to climate change.

These domains are applied to the UK context, given the sophistication of existing knowledge systems (such as probabilistic climate scenarios and a climate change risk assessment) and the progressive climate policy landscape (that requires public authorities to regularly report on adaptation activities).

Science studies have unpacked particular elements of climate knowledge into much depth but there are few studies that have examined the nature and role of climate knowledge in adaptation decision-making despite high-level political commitments made by political leaders and policy-makers to enable the UK to adapt to a changing climate.

Project ICAD uses methods from science and technology studies (STS) and the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) to explore how climate knowledge travels across different social worlds. This seminar introduced the rationale and aims of Project ICAD, its methods and preliminary findings, based on analysis of two questionnaire surveys, almost 100 organisation adaptation reports, and numerous interviews.

Speakers: Suraje Dessai, Geoff Whitman and James Porter

Date and location: 8 May, University of Leeds