We need the full picture to plan for climate change impacts: New IMPRESSIONS research paper

How can society plan for the future if we only look at individual issues in isolation? Climate change impact studies typically focus on a single sector such as agriculture, forestry or water, ignoring the implications of how different sectors interact. A new study, published in Nature Climate Change, suggests that an integrated, cross-sectoral approach to climate change assessment is needed to provide a more complete picture of impacts that enables better informed decisions about climate adaptation.

The importance of a cross-sectoral approach as a prerequisite for any type of comprehensive climate impact assessment is not a new notion. Already stressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is surprising that until now no published research has assessed the differences between impacts simulated by single sector and integrated models.

As a part of the FP7-funded EU project IMPRESSIONS* which aims to assess the implications of high-end climate change (+2 degrees and above), the new paper aims to demonstrate the benefits of using multi-sectoral modelling approaches.

"To address the current knowledge gap, in our paper we compare 14 indicators derived from a set of impact models run within single sector and integrated frameworks across a range of climate and socio-economic scenarios in Europe. The results show that single sector studies misrepresent the spatial pattern, direction and magnitude of most impacts because they omit the complex interdependencies within human and environmental systems", explains Dr. Paula Harrison, Center for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), UK.

Full press release.

The original research article is available here.

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