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Local perceptions in climate change debates: insights from case studies in the Alps and the Andes


  • Christine Jurt
  • Maria Burga
  • Luis Vicuña
  • Christian Huggel
  • Ben Orlove


The importance of integrating local perspectives into international debates about climate change has received increasing attention. Local perspectives on the impacts of climate change often focus on issues of loss and harm and support the widely recognized need for global responses to climate change as suggested by scientists and international institutions. Here we argue that local perspectives need to be addressed not only from outside communities but also from inside in order to understand people’s responses to climate change: their concerns, their understanding of themselves as members of particular groups and their position in the world, their view on responsibilities for causing climate change, and their perceptions of possible responses. The ethnographic work at two study sites, one in Carhuaz, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, and one in Stilfs, South Tyrolean Alps, Italy, identifies dominant perceptions on climate change at each site with a particular focus on glacier retreat. The case studies show that the view on the need for global action as response to climate change is not necessarily shared throughout the world, and thus presents a challenge to global collaboration. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Jurt & Maria Burga & Luis Vicuña & Christian Huggel & Ben Orlove, 2015. "Local perceptions in climate change debates: insights from case studies in the Alps and the Andes," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 511-523, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:133:y:2015:i:3:p:511-523
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1529-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elinor Ostrom, 2014. "A Polycentric Approach For Coping With Climate Change," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 97-134, May.
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    1. Dominic Roser & Christian Huggel & Markus Ohndorf & Ivo Wallimann-Helmer, 2015. "Advancing the interdisciplinary dialogue on climate justice," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 349-359, December.
    2. Graham McDowell & Leila Harris & Michele Koppes & Martin F. Price & Kai M.A. Chan & Dhawa G. Lama, 2020. "From needs to actions: prospects for planned adaptations in high mountain communities," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 953-972, November.
    3. Scoville-Simonds, Morgan & Jamali, Hameed & Hufty, Marc, 2020. "The Hazards of Mainstreaming: Climate change adaptation politics in three dimensions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    4. Scoville-Simonds, Morgan, 2018. "Climate, the Earth, and God – Entangled narratives of cultural and climatic change in the Peruvian Andes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 345-359.

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