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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Screening of Adaptation Options

This matrix-based decision-making tool sets up a series of criteria that allow the user to narrow the list of appropriate adaptation measures.

The user sets up a table with evaluation criteria across the top: Will the measure target a high-priority area? Will it address targets of opportunity? Is it likely to be effective? Will it generate other benefits (e.g., economic, environmental)? Is it inexpensive? Is it feasible? The user can insert or substitute other criteria if they are more appropriate. The user then evaluates each measure against these criteria, entering a simple “yes” or “no” in the cells. This tool is frequently combined with expert judgment.

Appropriate Use This is a useful tool at the beginning of the decision-making process, allowing the user to create a manageable although possibly subjective list of options, which can then be analyzed more rigorously.
Scope All locations; all sectors; national or site-specific.
Key Output A simple matrix, clearly showing the strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of options.
Key Input Basic summary information about options under consideration.
Ease of Use Depends on specific applications.
Training Required Requires background knowledge of both the options and the climate change issue being addressed.
Training Available Contact Stratus Consulting for more information.
Computer Requirements IBM-compatible 286; Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel spreadsheet software helpful.

Benioff, R. and J. Warren (eds.). 1996. Steps in Preparing Climate Change Action Plans: A Handbook. U.S. Country Studies Program, Washington, DC.

USCSP. 1999. Climate Change: Mitigation, Vulnerability, and Adaptation in Developing Countries, U.S. Country Studies Program, Washington, DC.


Used by several participants in the U.S. Country Studies and UNEP assistance programs (e.g., Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Uruguay, Bolivia, Antigua, Barbuda, Estonia, and Pakistan).

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Joel Smith

Stratus Consulting, P.O. Box 4059, Boulder, CO 80306; Tel: +1.303.381.8000; Fax: +1.303.381.8200; e-mail:; website:

Cost No cost to obtain documentation or diskette with template of the decision matrix.

Mizina, S.V., J.B. Smith, E. Gossen, K.F. Spiecker, and S.L. Witkowski. 1999. An evaluation of adaptation options for climate change impacts on agriculture in Kazakhstan. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Climate Change 4:25-41.