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Climate Change in Africa

Social and Political Impacts, Conflicts, and Strategies

Edited By Bettina Engels and Kristina Dietz

This volume deals with the consequences of climate change and issues of international climate policy relating to Africa from a social science perspective. The contributions by international authors question dominant political approaches and key concepts of the climate debate. They explain how the effects of climate change are linked to existing social, economic and political-institutional structures and action by the State. The authors show how social movements in Africa shape climate policy «from below». The volume serves as an introduction into climate change in Africa. It wants to stimulate a critical debate on dominant strategies and points out that there can be no simple answers to the complex socio-ecological and political challenges linked to climate change in Africa.

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The politics of adaptation to climate change: Entry points for research and practice (Lars Otto Naess)


Lars Otto Naess

The politics of adaptation to climate change: Entry points for research and practice


Few if any would deny that politics is important for tackling the impacts of climate change. At a basic level, political support is necessary to ensure government backing for adaptation policies and plans. Furthermore politics can help, delay or hinder implementation of funded adaptation interventions. More fundamentally, however, is that understanding politics is key to understanding why and how people and societies are vulnerable to climate shocks and stressors. The importance of this has been shown by long standing work within hazards and disasters, demonstrating how vulnerability is shaped by political marginalisation that lead to lack of access to resources for protecting or recovering from shocks (e.g. Wisner 2001; Blaikie et al. 1994; Watts 1983). More recently, a growing body of literature is demonstrating how politics are fundamental to understanding how vulnerability to climate change is shaped and how adaptation processes are mediated, at international, national as well as sub-national scales (Eriksen et al. 2011, 2015; Dietz 2011; Tschakert et al. 2016; Nightingale 2017).

With increasing funding pledges for adaptation in developing countries, concerns grow that ignoring the roles politics play in mediating vulnerabilities and outcomes can lead to misdirected or misappropriated resources. As highlighted by Lockwood (2013), adaptation policy making enters complex political and policy contexts with deeply entrenched power relations. For example, there is little reason to think that adaptation funding in developing...

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