Books  Environmental Science  Climate & Climate Change 

The Adaptive Challenge of Climate Change

Presents a new way to think about adaptation to climate change that supports mitigation and social transformations
Makes a strong link between personal and political change to show that both are needed
Shows that long-term adaptation to climate can only be realised through social transformations that limit risks and vulnerability in the first place
Case studies represent real-world examples that highlight why and how climate change adaptation calls for new tools and approaches

By: Karen L O'Brien (Editor), Elin Selboe (Editor)

346 pages, 18 b/w illustrations, 18 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Aug 2015 | #222816 | ISBN-13: 9781107022980
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £81.99 $100/€92 approx

About this book

The Adaptive Challenge of Climate Change presents a new perspective on adaptation to climate change. It considers climate change as more than a problem that can be addressed solely through technical expertise. Instead, it approaches climate change as an adaptive challenge that is fundamentally linked to beliefs, values and worldviews, as well as to power, politics, identities and interests. Drawing on case studies from high-income countries, The Adaptive Challenge of Climate Change argues that it is time to consider adaptation to climate change as a challenge of social, personal and political transformations. The authors represent a variety of fields and perspectives, illustrating the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to the problem. The Adaptive Challenge of Climate Change will be of interest to researchers, policy makers and advanced students in the environmental sciences, social sciences and humanities, as well as to decision makers and practitioners interested in new ideas about adapting to climate change.


1. Climate change as an adaptive challenge Karen O'Brien and Elin Selboe
2. The intangibles of climate change adaptation: philosophy, ethics and values Bertrand Guillaume and Stijn Neuteleers
3. Urban climate change policy transitions: views from New York City and London William Solecki, Lesley Patrick and Zoe Sprigings
4. Planning for climate change adaptation in urban areas Jan Erling Klausen, Inger-Lise Saglie, Knut Bjørn Stokke and Marte Winswold
5. The challenge of governing adaptation in Australia Steven Waller and Jon Barnett
6. Emerging equity and justice concerns for climate change adaptation: a case study of New York State Peter Vancura and Robin Leichenko
7. Transforming towards or away from sustainability? How conflicting interests and aspirations influence local adaptation Siri Eriksen and Elin Selboe
8. Opportunistic adaptation: new discourses on oil, equity and environmental security Berit Kristoffersen
9. Place attachment, identity and adaptation Tare Quinn, Irene Lorenzoni and W. Neil Adger
10. Values and traditional practices in adaptation to climate change – evidence from a Q method study in two communities in Labrador, Canada Johanna Wolf, Ilana Allice and Trevor Bell
11. Exploring vulnerability and adaptation narratives among fishers, farmers and municipal planners in Northern Norway Grete K. Hovelsrud, Jennifer J. West and Halvor Dannevig
12. Changes in organizational culture, changes in adaptive capacity? Examples from the Norwegian and Swedish electricity sectors Tor Håkon Inderberg
13. From informant to actor to leader: social-ecological inventories as a catalyst for leadership development in participatory community climate change adaptation Bradley May
14. Participation and learning for climate change adaptation: a case study of the Swedish forestry sector Åsa Gerger Swartling, Oskar Wallgren, Richard J. T. Klein, Johanna Ulmanen and Maja Dahlin
15. Integral GIS: widening the frame of reference for adaptation planning Lynn D. Rosentrater
16. There must be more: communication to close the cultural divide Susanne C. Moser and Carol L. Berzonsky
17. Social transformation: the real adaptive challenge Karen O'Brien and Elin Selboe

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Karen O'Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. She has been working on various aspects of climate change for over twenty-five years, including on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation and the implications for human security. She also works on the links between global environmental change and globalization. Her current research explores adaptation as a social, cultural and human process, the relationships between belief system flexibility and adaptive capacity and the values and visions of youth towards the future in a changing climate. She is on the Future Earth Science Committee and has participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports, as well as the IPCC Special Report on extreme events. She has co-authored and co-edited numerous books, including Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures (2008), Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Climate Change, Ethics and Human Security (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and Climate Change Adaptation and Development: Transforming Paradigms and Practices (2015).

Elin Selboe holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Oslo, Norway. She has researched local mobilization and politics in Senegal, with her dissertation focusing on the dynamics of social networks and participation in associational life in the context of economic crisis, changes in political Islam and processes of democratization. She has been researching the politics and social organization of adaptation to climate change in Norway and currently holds a postdoctoral position in the project Voices of the Future: Values and Visions of Norwegian Youth on Responses to Climate Change.

- Karen O'Brien
- Elin Selboe
- Bertrand Guillaume
- Stijn Neuteleers
- William Solecki
- Lesley Patrick
- Zoe Sprigings
- Jan Erling Klausen
- Inger-Lise Saglie
- Knut Bjørn Stokke
- Marte Winswold
- Steven Waller
- Jon Barnett
- Peter Vancura
- Robin Leichenko
- Siri Eriksen
- Berit Kristoffersen
- Tare Quinn
- Irene Lorenzoni
- W. Neil Adger
- Johanna Wolf
- Ilana Allice
- Trevor Bell
- Grete K. Hovelsrud
- Jennifer J. West
- Halvor Dannevig
- Tor Håkon Inderberg
- Bradley May
- Åsa Gerger Swartling
- Oskar Wallgren
- Richard J. T. Klein
- Johanna Ulmanen
- Maja Dahlin
- Lynn D. Rosentrater
- Susanne C. Moser
- Carol L. Berzonsky

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