Climate-adaptive technological change in a small region: A resource-based scenario approach
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SubjectClimate adaptation; Technology pathways; Scenario planning; Clusters; Organizational resources; Stakeholder engagement
Society at large must find technological pathways capable of mitigating climate change. But small regions – where private and public sector decision makers take actions whose aggregated effects shape those broader pathways – are faced with the need to adapt to climate impacts over which they have little control. Such impacts already include not only direct climatological ones, but also related systemic shifts in technologies, markets, and policies. Firms and policymakers can widen the range of adaptation opportunities by exploring regional resources applicable to emergent clusters, through which technologically related inter-organizational dynamics may permit more effective climate responses. As in the resource-based view of the firm underlying cluster theory, key decision fields are chosen based on existing capabilities internal to the region in relation to the threats and opportunities transmitted by external climate change impacts. Adaptive strategy options at the regional level can be identified and assessed using a scenario-building methodology that incorporates the interactions among multiple variables and decision-makers’ actions over time. Stakeholder input and engagement during the research process can facilitate realism and traction. This methodology is applied to northwestern Pennsylvania, on Lake Erie, projecting a scenario based on a set of complementary, lower-carbon energy and transportation technologies.