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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
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