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Scales of governance and environmental justice for adaptation and mitigation of climate change

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  • W.Neil Adger

    (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and CSERGE, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

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    Abstract

    Global climate change is a significant challenge to structures of governance at all temporal and spatial scales, particularly in the area of managing natural resources. Advances in understanding of the nature of observed and future climate change has led to a realization that significant future impacts are inevitable and increased efforts towards understanding the process of adaptation to the threatened impacts are required. This paper examines the issue of scale of governance relevant for adaptation. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary mechanism for co-ordinating international action on the threat of global climate change. The Convention process perceives adaptation as a further rationale for international transfers, in this case to compensate for and prepare for potential or realised impacts. This approach can be justified by recourse to the idea that enhancing sustainable development will enhance adaptive capacity and that planned activities are a key part of overall adaptation. But many adaptations to climate change will be spontaneous actions to perceived and actual risks in the environment. Thus institutional and economic parameters determine the underlying vulnerability and adaptive capacity of societies. I therefore argue that an understanding of adaptation processes allows interventions and planned adaptations at the most appropriate scales. I illustrate these arguments with reference to adaptation in agriculture and outline the insights from interdisciplinary development studies that can inform the climate change debates. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 921-931

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:13:y:2001:i:7:p:921-931

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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    1. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
    2. W. Adger & P. Kelly, 1999. "Social Vulnerability to Climate Change and the Architecture of Entitlements," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 253-266, September.
    3. Matthews, R. B. & Kropff, M. J. & Horie, T. & Bachelet, D., 1997. "Simulating the impact of climate change on rice production in Asia and evaluating options for adaptation," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 399-425, July.
    4. Barrett, Scott, 1998. "Political Economy of the Kyoto Protocol," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 20-39, Winter.
    5. Neil Adger, W., 1999. "Social Vulnerability to Climate Change and Extremes in Coastal Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 249-269, February.
    6. Fankhauser, Samuel & Smith, Joel B. & Tol, Richard S. J., 1999. "Weathering climate change: some simple rules to guide adaptation decisions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-78, July.
    7. Mendelsohn, Robert & Dinar, Ariel, 1999. "Climate Change, Agriculture, and Developing Countries: Does Adaptation Matter?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 277-93, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Amy Lesen, 2012. "Oil, floods, and fish: the social role of environmental scientists," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 263-270, September.
    2. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Ökonomische Grundfragen der Klimaanpassung: Umrisse eines neuen Forschungsprogramms," UFZ Reports 02/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
    3. Rübbelke, Dirk T.G., 2011. "International support of climate change policies in developing countries: Strategic, moral and fairness aspects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1470-1480, June.
    4. Birte Frommer, 2013. "Climate change and the resilient society: utopia or realistic option for German regions?," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 67(1), pages 99-115, May.
    5. Osberghaus, Daniel & Finkel, Elyssa & Pohl, Max, 2010. "Individual adaptation to climate change: The role of information and perceived risk," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-061, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Unai Pascual & Roberto Mart�nez-Espi�eira, 2009. "The effect of environmental change and price policies on livelihoods in tropical agroforestry systems," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 433-446.
    7. Pierre Mukheibir & Natasha Kuruppu & Anna Gero & Jade Herriman, 2013. "Overcoming cross-scale challenges to climate change adaptation for local government: a focus on Australia," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 271-283, November.
    8. Birte Frommer, 2011. "Climate change and the resilient society: utopia or realistic option for German regions?," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 58(1), pages 85-101, July.
    9. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Fundamental questions on the economics of climate adaptation: Outlines of a new research programme," UFZ Reports 05/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
    10. Yosef Jabareen, 2012. "Towards a Sustainability Education Framework: Challenges, Concepts and Strategies—The Contribution from Urban Planning Perspectives," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(9), pages 2247-2269, September.
    11. Sippel, Maike & Jenssen, Till, 2009. "What about local climate governance? A review of promise and problems," MPRA Paper 20987, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Frank Biermann & Michele Betsill & Joyeeta Gupta & Norichika Kanie & Louis Lebel & Diana Liverman & Heike Schroeder & Bernd Siebenhüner & Ruben Zondervan, 2010. "Earth system governance: a research framework," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 277-298, December.
    13. Ellen Douglas & Paul Kirshen & Michael Paolisso & Chris Watson & Jack Wiggin & Ashley Enrici & Matthias Ruth, 2012. "Coastal flooding, climate change and environmental justice: identifying obstacles and incentives for adaptation in two metropolitan Boston Massachusetts communities," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 537-562, June.

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