Climate change has far-reaching effects on human and ecological systems, requiring collaboration across sectors and disciplines to determine effective responses. To inform regional responses to climate change, decision-makers need credible and relevant information representing a wide swath of knowledge and perspectives. The southeastern U. S. State of Georgia is a valuable focal area for study because it contains multiple ecological zones that vary greatly in land use and economic activities, and it is vulnerable to diverse climate change impacts. We identified 40 important research questions that, if answered, could lay the groundwork for effective, science-based climate action in Georgia. Top research priorities were identified through a broad solicitation of candidate research questions (180 were received). A group of experts across sectors and disciplines gathered for a workshop to categorize, prioritize, and filter the candidate questions, identify missing topics, and rewrite questions. Participants then collectively chose the 40 most important questions. This cross-sectoral effort ensured the inclusion of a diversity of topics and questions (e.g., coastal hazards, agricultural production, ecosystem functioning, urban infrastructure, and human health) likely to be important to Georgia policy-makers, practitioners, and scientists. Several cross-cutting themes emerged, including the need for long-term data collection and consideration of at-risk Georgia citizens and communities. Workshop participants defined effective responses as those that take economic cost, environmental impacts, and social justice into consideration. Our research highlights the importance of collaborators across disciplines and sectors, and discussing challenges and opportunities that will require transdisciplinary solutions.
Keywords: Adaptation; Climate change; Horizon scanning; Mitigation; Research priorities.