The Lincoln University researcher specialises in responses to climate change and is one of the lead authors of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is holding its second lead author meeting in Christchurch this week.
The IPCC, a UN body that assesses the science related to climate change, provides governments with information they can use to develop climate policies. It has 195 member states.
“The IPCC doesn’t conduct new research, but rather synthesises and assesses the existing evidence to address some of the big challenges in these areas,” says Dr Wreford.
“The report that I’m contributing to is very important for New Zealand, as it addresses topics including sustainable land management, food security, land degradation and greenhouse gas fluxes. My chapter aims to identify tools and decision-making processes to address emerging risks and includes the role of governance and institutions.”
More than 100 experts from 52 countries will work on the report, which is expected to be finalised in 2019. The authors are meeting in Christchurch next week to prepare a first draft for expert review.
Dr Wreford says her main research area focuses on making decisions in the face of uncertainty.
“While we know that the climate will change over the course of the century, we don’t know exactly how much, or where and when the changes will take place, which can make planning quite challenging.
“I have several research projects that look at the value of building flexibility into our decisions and exploring how we can plan for the future now, but leave options open for different pathways depending on how the climate ends up changing.”
Dr Wreford is based at the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) at Lincoln University and has experience across many areas of climate change. She has worked closely with policymakers at national and local levels in both the UK and New Zealand, providing advice and analysis for adaptation decisions.