To Impact Climate Policy, Researchers Should Think Short-Term, Expert Says

1 November 2013

Scientists could have a greater influence over climate change policy if more research showed how communities are already adapting to changes, rather than focusing solely on long-term projections, a scientist from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has said.

As policy-makers study the recently released fifth assessment by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and consider measures to adapt to more extreme weather projected to occur by the end of the century, they are neglecting communities that are already confronting drought, floods, fires and shifting seasonal patterns, said Lou Verchot, CIFOR’s director of forests and environment research.

“IPCC scenarios often deal with climate change over the time horizon of 70 to 100 years. They look at very long-term trends,” he said. “But the trends that are important for policy-makers and land managers are at the five-, 10- or 20-year time horizon. So these long-term trends are sort of meaningless at that level,” Verchot said.

Read more from CIFOR here