Differentiating capacities as a means to sustainable climate change adaptation

Hallie Eakin, M. C. Lemos, D. R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are two forms of capacity to adapt to global change: those associated with fundamental human development goals (generic capacity), and those necessary for managing and reducing specific climatic threats (specific). We argue that these two domains of capacity must be addressed explicitly, simultaneously and iteratively if climate change adaptation and sustainable development goals are to be attained. We propose a simple heuristic to understand the four main ways these two capacities interact, leading to more or less desirable outcomes. Drawing from three case studies of agricultural adaptation to climatic risk (Phoenix, AZ; Northeast Brazil; Chiapas, Mexico) we argue that the institutional context of adaptation can implicitly or explicitly undermine one form of capacity with repercussions for the development of the other. A better and more strategic balance of generic and specific capacities is needed if the promised synergies between sustainable development and adaptation are to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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climate change
sustainable development
heuristics
global change
synergy
climate change adaptation
Brazil
Mexico
threat

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Capacity
  • Climate change
  • Poverty
  • Risk
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

Differentiating capacities as a means to sustainable climate change adaptation. / Eakin, Hallie; Lemos, M. C.; Nelson, D. R.

In: Global Environmental Change, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2014, p. 1-8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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