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Global Environmental Change Group

Research Overview

We investigage and document the vulnerabilities of people, communities and sectors to changes in water, temperature, ice, extreme events, sea level rise and other conditions related to natural resources and livelihoods. Existing adaptation strategies are reviewed as a basis for identifying prospects for enhancing capacities to adapt to future changes. Our work has been published in major scientific journals and books, and our research has been employed by governments, non-governmental organizations, and international agencies. Our work has contributed to developments in:

  • Theory and conceptual models of vulnerability, adaptive capacity and adaptation typologies

  • Methodologies for participatory community vulnerability assessments, enabling comparative analysis

  • Practical applications, both demonstrating relevance to policies and management, and involvement in actual program development and implementation of adaptation initiatives.

Our theoretical and methodological work is consistent with the approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Our core ideas and approaches have been employed in major collaborative projects in agriculture, Arctic communities, dryland regions, international development, and the wine industry.

The practical relevance of our work is evident in applications in development projects (e.g. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, CARE Bangladesh), invitations to exchange experiences with stakeholders (e.g. Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Many Strong Voices), and our inclusion in advisory bodies (e.g. UN Environment Programme, UN Development Programme, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Natural Resources Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation).

Our research is made possible by support from the following agencies as well as numerous small grants and awards:

  • Canadian Research Chairs Program

  • Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network

  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food

  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation

  • Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations Program

  • Environment Canada

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

  • ArcticNet NCE (Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada)

  • International Polar Year Canada

  • Institutional Adaptations to Climate Change (IACC) Multi-Collaborative Research Initiative