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Application of methods and tools for assessing impacts and vulnerability, and developing adaptation responses

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The purpose of this paper was to facilitate discussion at a workshop on adaptation in December 2004 but it presents an appropriate and current summary of approaches to methodologies, tools and vulnerability studies.The paper covers two overall areas for consideration, focusing on analysis and synthesis of current applications; approaches, methods and tools, and scenario-based studies and regional climate models. For both these areas the current use and experience is discussed, as well as limitations associated with particular methodologies.Conclusions and issues presented in relation to the topic of "approaches, methods and tools" include the following main points:applications are classified into two main categories; the top down or scenario driven approach, and the bottom up or vulnerability driven approachthe scenario driven approach is useful in evaluating long term impacts of climate change and supporting global scale processes. This approach has severe limitations relating to the absence of developing responses and policies at national and community scalesthe vulnerability driven approach is useful in developing responses and policies in shorter time frames and developing adaptation measure at a more local scalea combination of both approaches can guide specific response strategies and strengthen adaptive capacity whilst also considering longer term vulnerability. This combination approach is appropriate for fitting into a broader sustainable development strategy.It is concluded that scenario based studies support policy making at all levels and are appropriate for identifying long term adaptation targets. For sustained application of scenario based approaches, work on climate model refinement must continue in order to reduce the current limitations. This refinement must be based on improved data and a more coordinated application, especially in developing countries.The SBSTA considers that further work capable of being achieved should include encouraging development of refined regional climate models, and the identification of requirements at a variety of levels to develop appropriate adaptation policy actions.