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Climate Change and Small Island States: Power, Knowledge and the South Pacific

By: Jon Barnett and John Campbell

218 pages, Figs, tabs

Earthscan

Hardback | Mar 2010 | #179638 | ISBN-13: 9781844074945
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £49.99 $63/€59 approx

About this book

Small island developing states are often depicted as being among the most vulnerable of all places to the effects of climate change, and they are a cause celebre of many involved in climate science, politics and the media. Yet despite this the scientific knowledge and policies needed to protect the rights of these nations and their people have been slow to appear.

This book, the first to apply a critical approach to science and policy processes in the South Pacific region, shows how groups within politically and scientifically powerful countries appropriate the issue of island vulnerability in ways that do not do justice to the lives of island people. It argues that the ways in which islands and their inhabitants are represented seldom leads to meaningful responses to assist them to adapt to climate change. Throughout, the authors focus on the hitherto largely ignored social impacts of climate change, and demonstrate that adaptation and mitigation policies cannot be effective without understanding the social systems and values of island societies.

'This is a courageous and provocative book. It challenges the prevailing views and assumptions about the science and policy of climate change. The focus is on Pacific small island states, but the questions raised apply worldwide. This is a timely check on established paradigms and their effectiveness (or otherwise) in contributing to practical adaptation to climate change in vulnerable regions.' Barry Smit, Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change, University of Guelph, Canada 'Climate Change and Small Island States is a timely and most welcome book. It shows the value of using powerful social science insights to enrich what are often bland and superficial accounts of climate change impacts. Barnett and Campbell's book will contribute to the slowly growing critical literature which challenges the climate change science-and-policy orthodoxy, an orthodoxy which has narrowed our thinking and failed our people. This book is about enabling and trusting the people to take back control of their lives.' Mike Hulme, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research 'This is a fascinating book about small South Pacific islands and climate change that takes care to highlight the differences between the islands, gives agency to their residents, and shows the significance of history and political economy. Using critical perspectives on power and knowledge, the authors show how science and other discursive formations have represented the vulnerability of small island states and the ways in which these have overlooked the nuances of local experience, structured international debate, and limited the success of adaptation to date. The innovative theoretical perspective gives the book considerable resonance beyond the region.' Diana Liverman, University of Arizona


Contents

The Trouble with Climate Change; Environment and Development in Pacific Islands; The History and Architecture of Climate Science; The History and Architecture of Climate Change Policy; Doing Climate Change in Oceania; Investing in Uncertainty and Vulnerability; Discourses of Danger; Conclusions.

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Biography

Dr Jon Barnett has a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Science from the Australian National University and is currently an Australian Research Council Fellow at the University of Melbourne. John Campbell has a PhD in Geography from the University of Hawaii and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

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