Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance

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Overview

Adapting to climate change is a critical problem facing humanity. This involves reconsidering our lifestyles, and is linked to our actions as individuals, societies and governments. This book presents the latest science and social science research on whether the world can adapt to climate change. Written by experts, both academics and practitioners, it examines the risks to ecosystems, demonstrating how values, culture and the constraining forces of governance act as barriers to action. As a state-of-the-art review of science and a holistic assessment of adaptation options, it is essential reading for those concerned with responses to climate change, especially researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and graduate students. Significant features include historical, contemporary, and future insights into adaptation to climate change; coverage of adaptation issues from different perspectives: climate science, hydrology, engineering, ecology, economics, human geography, anthropology and political science; and contributions from leading researchers and practitioners from around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a major contribution to a subject that has hitherto been far too little studied and commented on. 'Adaptation' to climate change sounds a simple idea, but turns out to be a complex and problematic one. Everyone involved in the debate about how to cope with global warming will profit by studying the diverse contributions this volume contains." Lord Tony Giddens, London School of Economics and Political Science and author of The Politics of Climate Change

"A fascinating collection of papers addressing adaptation to climate change in all its complexity, ranging geographicaly from the Inuit of Arctic Canada to the African Sahel via the inhabitants of Boscastle in Cornwall. On the way, it explores from the perspectives of many different writers the factors that enable and encourage communities to adapt, and the factors that hold them back. The book has a richness and depth of thinking that makes it required reading for all who seek to understand why some communities live in harmony with their climatic environment whilst others fail, and what this means for the future of society as a whole as it seeks to come to terms with climate change." Jean Palutikof, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Griffith University

"The book is not one of cheering examples of successful adaptation efforts, or of prescriptions of future adaptation measures. If there are prescriptions indicated they are more concerned with the underlying social and political factors which will need to be part of effective adaptation. It's not a simple matter of applying the right technology or the correctly chosen course of action to achieve the necessary changes. That will be part of the picture, of course, but it is people and communities of people who have to adapt, and try to hold on to what they value as human beings and cultural groupings as they do so. The social sciences come into play and this book gives an indication of the wide front on which social researchers are operating and what their understandings have to offer. It’s an impressive array. The papers are specialised and directed mainly at researchers, policy makers and practitioners. However they are not inaccessible to the general reader prepared to pause and dwell on their substance and consider the implications for the massive social undertakings of adaptation." Hot Topic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521764858
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2009
  • Pages: 532
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Adaptation now; Part I. Adapting to Thresholds in Physical and Ecological Systems: 2. Ecological limits of adaptation to climate change; 3. Adapting to the effects of climate change on water supply reliability; 4. Protecting London from tidal flooding: limits to engineering adaptation; 5. Climate prediction: a limit to adaptation?; 6. Learning to crawl: how to use seasonal climate forecasts to build adaptive capacity; 7. Norse Greenland settlement and limits to adaptation; 8. Sea ice change in Arctic Canada: are there limits to Inuit adaptation?; Part II. The Role of Value and Culture in Adaptation: 9. The past, present and some possible futures of adaptation; 10. Do values subjectively define the limits to climate change adaptation?; 11. Conceptual and practical barriers to adaptation: vulnerability and responses to heat waves in the UK; 12. Values and cost-benefit analysis: economic efficiency criteria in adaptation; 13. Hidden costs and disparate uncertainties: trade-offs in approaches to climate policy; 14. Community based adaptation and culture in theory and practice; 15. Exploring the invisibility of local knowledge in decision-making: the Boscastle harbour flood disaster; 16. Adaptation and conflict within fisheries: insights for living with climate change; 17. Exploring cultural dimensions of adaptation to climate change; 18. Adapting to an uncertain climate on the great plains: testing hypotheses on historical populations; 19. Climate change and adaptive human migration: lessons from rural North America; Part III. Governance, Knowledge and Technologies for Adaptation: 20. Are our levers long and our fulcra strong enough? Exploring the soft underbelly of adaptation decisions and actions; 21. Decentralized planning and climate adaptation: toward transparent governance; 22. Climate adaptation, local institutions and rural livelihoods; 23. Adaptive governance for a changing coastline: science, policy and publics in search of a sustainable future; 24. Climate change, international cooperation and adaptation in transboundary water management; 25. Decentralization: a window of opportunity for successful adaptation to climate change?; 26. Adapting to climate change: the nation-state as problem and solution; 27. Limits to adaptation: analysing institutional constraints; 28. Accessing diversification, networks and traditional resource management as adaptations to climate extremes; 29. Governance limits to effective global financial support for adaptation; 30. Organizational learning and governance in adaptation in urban development; 31. Conclusions: transforming the world; Index.
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