A need to cope with the risks associated with atmospheric processes (floods, droughts, cyclones, and so forth) has always been a fact of human life (Lamb, 1995). In more recent decades, extreme weather events have increasingly come to be associated with large-scale disasters and an increasing level of economic losses. Considerable experience has accumulated at the international (as well as local and national) level on ways of coping with or managing the risks. The same cannot be said for the risks associated with anthropogenic climate change. These are new risks identified as possibilities or probabilities. Acceptance of climate change and its growing impacts has led to a stronger emphasis on the need for adaptation, as exemplified, for example, in the Bali Action Plan (adopted at the 13th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (UNFCCC, 2007a) and the Cancun Agreements of December 2010. The international community is thus faced with a contrast between a long record of managing disasters and the risks of ‘normal’ climate extremes, and the new problem of adaptation to anthropogenic climate change and its associated changes in variability and extremes. It has been asked how the comparatively new field of anthropogenic climate change adaptation (CCA) can benefit from the longer experience in disaster risk management (DRM). That question is a major focus of this Special Report.
Burton, I., O.P. Dube, D. Campbell-Lendrum, I. Davis, R.J.T. Klein, J. Linnerooth-Bayer, A. Sanghi, and F. Toth, 2012: Managing the risks: international level and integration across scales. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 393-435.