Adaptation frameworks used by US decision-makers: a literature review

Samuel A. Markolf, Kelly Klima, Terrence L. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Many government officials and organizations have begun to consider climate resilience efforts to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, or more successfully adapt to actual or potential adverse events. Unfortunately, decision-makers have not yet developed a standardized approach. Since choosing a framework often requires significant time and resources, obtaining a better understanding of how often, and in what context, frameworks are currently used will likely save time for future decision-makers. In this literature review, we seek to determine whether certain commonly referenced frameworks (“triple value,” “triple bottom line,” “pressure state response (PSR),” “vulnerability,” and “risk”) are implemented more frequently than others, and if so, assess which attributes contribute to framework implementation. We obtained 212 relevant documents from one climate adaptation database, the Georgetown Climate Center’s Adaptation Clearinghouse. We then implemented a simplified text classifier and employed statistical analysis to identify the use and frequency of key terms linked to specific frameworks. We found that four of the five frameworks (“triple bottom line,” “risk,” “vulnerability,” and “PSR”) appear in at least 7 % of the documents, suggesting that they are commonly used by decision-makers. On the other hand, the “triple value” framework does not appear to be frequently implemented by practitioners. Date of publication, discussion of social/cultural/financial sectors, discussion of the environmental sector, discussion of the infrastructure sector, discussion of human health/safety impacts, and discussion of ecosystem/biological impacts are all statistically significant factors in determining the implementation of the above frameworks. While current practices do not necessarily translate into future practices, the understanding of current practices as described in this study may help inform this future resilience framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-436
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment Systems and Decisions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Framework
  • Resilience
  • Triple bottom line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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