A systematic global stocktake of evidence on human adaptation to climate change

Published on

Assessing global progress on human adaptation to climate change is an urgent priority. Although the literature on adaptation to climate change is rapidly expanding, little is known about the actual extent of implementation. We systematically screened >48,000 articles using machine learning methods and a global network of 126 researchers. Our synthesis of the resulting 1,682 articles presents a systematic and comprehensive global stocktake of implemented human adaptation to climate change. Documented adaptations were largely fragmented, local and incremental, with limited evidence of transformational adaptation and negligible evidence of risk reduction outcomes. We identify eight priorities for global adaptation research: assess the effectiveness of adaptation responses, enhance the understanding of limits to adaptation, enable individuals and civil society to adapt, include missing places, scholars and scholarship, understand private sector responses, improve methods for synthesizing different forms of evidence, assess the adaptation at different temperature thresholds, and improve the inclusion of timescale and the dynamics of responses.


Hamilton NC, Kirchhoff CJ, Kumar P, Pentz B, Simpson NP, Theokritoff E, Deryng D, Reckien D, Zavaleta-Cortijo C, Ulibarri N, Segnon AC, Khavhagali V, Shang Y, Zvobgo L, Zommers Z, Xu J, Williams PA, Canosa, IV, van Maanen N, van Bavel B, van Aalst M,Turek-Hankins, LL, Trivedi H, Trisos CH, Thomas A, Thakur S, Templeman S, Stringer LC, Sotnik G, Sjostrom KD, Singh C, Siña MZ, Shukla R, Sardans J, Salubi EA, Safaee Chalkasra, LS, Ruiz-Díaz, R, Richards C, Pokharel P, Petzold J, Penuelas J, Pelaez Avila J, Murillo JBP, Ouni S, Niemann J, Nielsen M, New M, Nayna Schwerdtle P, Nagle Alverio G, Mullin CA, Mullenite J, Mosurska A, Morecroft MD, Minx JC, Maskell G, Nunbogu AM, Magnan AK, Lwasa S, Lukas-Sithole M, Lissner T, Lilford O, Koller, SF, Jurjonas M, Joe ET, Huynh LTM, Hill A, Hernandez RR, Hegde G, Hawxwell T, Harper S, Harden A, Haasnoot M, Gilmore EA, Gichuki L, Gatt A, Garschagen M, Ford JD, Forbes A, Farrell AD, Enquist CAF, Elliott S, Duncan E, Coughlan de Perez E, Coggins S, Chen T, Campbell D, Browne KE, Bowen KJ, Biesbroek R, Bhatt ID, Bezner Kerr R, Barr SL, Baker E, Austin SE, Arotoma-Rojas I, Anderson C, Ajaz W, Agrawal T, Abu TZ. 2021. A systematic global stocktake of evidence on human adaptation to climate change. Nature Climate Change 11:989-1000.. Vol 11