People versus planners: Social Preferences for Adaptation to Climate Change
Increasing attention is being given to adaptation of natural and human systems to climate change. The academic literature covers a wide spectrum of perspectives. Policy considerations, on the other hand, are driven largely by techno-scientific considerations, including in particular a risk-management approach. However, the inherent uncertainties of climate change mean that conventional risk-management approaches are inappropriate because the risks cannot be quantified. Economic theory, in the form of ‘real options’, offers a conceptual alternative for specifying least-cost adaptation strategies. But little, if any, work has been undertaken to identify individuals’ preferences and priorities, a necessary precondition to estimating the benefits of adaptation measures. It is therefore proposed to identify and compare the priorities and preferences of planners, communities and individuals as a first step towards estimating individuals’ willingness to pay for adaptation measures.
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