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Spending adaptation money wisely


  • Samuel Fankhauser
  • Ian Burton


The discussions about adaptation finance have mostly been about process: how money should be raised and how adaptation spending should be governed and monitored. This paper seeks to move the focus of the debate back towards the substance of adaptation by asking what �good adaptation� in developing countries would look like. We argue that the best use of funds in the short term may be for �soft�, or less tangible developmental activities that increase adaptive capacity. Building a minimum level of adaptive capacity everywhere is central to efficient, effective and equitable adaptation and yields immediate benefits irrespective of future climate regimes. We discuss a number of operational challenges in delivering this kind of adaptation, including a preoccupation with additionality � which makes the integration of adaptation and development harder � and a preference for �concrete� and more readily visible adaptation projects. We leave open the question of whether and how the adaptation regime that is emerging from the Cancun Agreements will be able to deliver wise adaptation decisions, but our analysis recognizes that further institutional development is required.

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  • Samuel Fankhauser & Ian Burton, 2011. "Spending adaptation money wisely," GRI Working Papers 37, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp37

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    Cited by:

    1. Yalew, Amsalu W. & Hirte, Georg & Lotze-Campen, Hermann & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2017. "General equilibrium effects of public adaptation in agriculture in LDCs: Evidence from Ethiopia," CEPIE Working Papers 11/17, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    2. Millner, Antony & Dietz, Simon, 2015. "Adaptation to climate change and economic growth in developing countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57863, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Nguyen, Thanh Cong & Robinson, Jackie & Kaneko, Shinji & Komatsu, Satoru, 2013. "Estimating the value of economic benefits associated with adaptation to climate change in a developing country: A case study of improvements in tropical cyclone warning services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 117-128.
    4. David O'Connor & James Ford, 2014. "Increasing the Effectiveness of the “Great Green Wall” as an Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change and Desertification in the Sahel," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-13, October.
    5. Susannah Fisher & Swenja Surminski, 2012. "The roles of public and private actors in the governance of adaptation: the case of agricultural insurance in India," GRI Working Papers 89, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    6. Fisher, Susannah & Surminski, Swenja, 2012. "The roles of public and private actors in the governance of adaptation: the case of agricultural insurance in India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 46400, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. repec:taf:teepxx:v:5:y:2016:i:3:p:249-264 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Martin Stadelmann & Åsa Persson & Izabela Ratajczak-Juszko & Axel Michaelowa, 2014. "Equity and cost-effectiveness of multilateral adaptation finance: are they friends or foes?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 101-120, May.
    9. Tanya O'Garra & Susana Mourato, 2016. "Are we willing to give what it takes? Willingness to pay for climate change adaptation in developing countries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 249-264, September.
    10. Fankhauser, Sam & Soare, Raluca, 2012. "Strategic adaptation to climate change in Europe," EIB Working Papers 2012/01, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    11. Bowen, Alex & Cochrane, Sarah & Fankhauser, Samuel, 2012. "Climate change, adaptation and economic growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 39939, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Bose, Arnab & Ramji, Aditya & Singh, Jarnail & Dholakia, Dhairya, 2012. "A case study for sustainable development action using financial gradients," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(S1), pages 79-86.
    13. Vale, Petterson Molina, 2016. "The changing climate of climate change economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 12-19.
    14. I. Hofmeijer & J. Ford & L. Berrang-Ford & C. Zavaleta & C. Carcamo & E. Llanos & C. Carhuaz & V. Edge & S. Lwasa & D. Namanya, 2013. "Community vulnerability to the health effects of climate change among indigenous populations in the Peruvian Amazon: a case study from Panaillo and Nuevo Progreso," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 18(7), pages 957-978, October.

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