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Constraining and enabling factors to using long-term climate information in decision-making


  • Lindsey Jones
  • Clara Champalle
  • Sabrina Chesterman
  • Laura Cramer
  • Todd A. Crane


We carry out a structured review of the peer-reviewed literature to assess the factors that constrain and enable the uptake of long-term climate information in a wide range of sectoral investment and planning decisions. Common applications of long-term climate information are shown to relate to urban planning and infrastructure, as well as flood and coastal management. Analysis of the identified literature highlights five categories of constraints: disconnection between users and producers of climate information, limitations of climate information, financial and technical constraints, political economy and institutional constraints and finally psycho-social constraints. Five categories of enablers to the uptake of long-term climate information in decision-making are also identified: collaboration and bridge work, increased accessibility of climate information, improvement in the underlying science, institutional reform and windows of opportunity for building trust.Policy relevanceOur review suggests that stand-alone interventions aimed at promoting the uptake of climate information into decision-making are unlikely to succeed without genuine and sustained relationships between producers and users. We also highlight that not every decision requires consideration of long-term climate information for successful outcomes to be achieved. This is particularly the case in the context of developing countries, where the immediacy of development challenges means that decision makers often prioritize short-term interventions. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that information is targeted towards investments and planning decisions that are relevant to longer-term timescales.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindsey Jones & Clara Champalle & Sabrina Chesterman & Laura Cramer & Todd A. Crane, 2017. "Constraining and enabling factors to using long-term climate information in decision-making," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 551-572, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:17:y:2017:i:5:p:551-572
    DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1191008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shardul Agrawala & Maarten Van Aalst, 2008. "Adapting development cooperation to adapt to climate change," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 183-193, March.
    2. Maria Carmen Lemos & Richard B. Rood, 2010. "Climate projections and their impact on policy and practice," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 1(5), pages 670-682, September.
    3. Jason Corburn, 2009. "Cities, Climate Change and Urban Heat Island Mitigation: Localising Global Environmental Science," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 46(2), pages 413-427, February.
    4. Sara Barron & Glenis Canete & Jeff Carmichael & David Flanders & Ellen Pond & Stephen Sheppard & Kristi Tatebe, 2012. "A Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process for Low-Lying, Communities Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(9), pages 1-33, September.
    5. Hallegatte, Stephane & Shah, Ankur & Lempert, Robert & Brown, Casey & Gill, Stuart, 2012. "Investment decision making under deep uncertainty -- application to climate change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6193, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elisabeth M. Hamin & Yaser Abunnasr & Max Roman Dilthey & Pamela K. Judge & Melissa A. Kenney & Paul Kirshen & Thomas C. Sheahan & Don J. DeGroot & Robert L. Ryan & Brain G. McAdoo & Leonard Nurse & J, 2018. "Pathways to Coastal Resiliency: The Adaptive Gradients Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-20, July.
    2. Susannah Fisher & David Dodman & Marissa Epp & Ben Garside, 2019. "Correction to: The usability of climate information in sub-national planning in India, Kenya and Uganda: the role of social learning and intermediary organisations," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 303-304, March.

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