Climate change vulnerability assessment – to assess people's overall vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change – is a rapidly developing field. However, despite the fact that major trends such as globalization and the changing characteristics of the political and economic governance systems are crucial in impacting and shaping a community's capacity to adapt to climate change, these trends are seldom included in climate change vulnerability assessments. An applied methodology and framework for qualitative assessment of vulnerability based in the present and on people's own perceptions of their realities has so far largely been lacking.
Climate Change and Globalization in the Arctic addresses these shortcomings in that it first develops a methodology and framework for qualitative vulnerability assessment in "multiple impact" studies (of climate change and globalization), and then applies the framework to several cases of renewable natural resource use across scales. The book draws upon case studies of forestry and fishing – two of the largest sectors that rely on renewable natural resources – and reindeer herding in the European North, and includes data from some sixty semi-structured interviews and seven stakeholder meetings.
The study represents a bottom-up view, originating with the stakeholders themselves, of the degree to which stakeholders find adaptation to climate change possible, how they conceive of climate change, and how they evaluate it in relation to their other concerns, notably economic and political ones. It illustrates that local vulnerability and adaptive capacity are to a large degree a result of international and national governance, that much of the adaptive capacity for local areas lies at higher, even international, levels (which the local level has limited or no influence on) and that not even a "traditional" practice such as indigenous reindeer herding can be understood outside of international market systems. Moreover, the approach and research results include features that could be broadly generalized to other geographic areas or sectors characterized by renewable natural resource use.
"[A]n important contribution to the literature on how socio-ecological systems experience and manage change [...] [t]he book should appeal to a wide variety of scholars interested in the human dimensions of climatic and environmental changes."
– Arctic Journal
"A valuable contribution to the literature on the human dimensions of global environmental change. Scholars, graduate students and practitioners will benefit from reading and referencing it."
– Polar Research
"This volume provides a detailed and thorough examination of vulnerability and adaptation in the northern European Arctic, and serves as a useful reference for stakeholder views in the forestry, fishing, and reindeer herding sectors."
– Lilian Alessa and Andrew Kliskey, University of Alaska Anchorage, The Journal of Polar Record
"Standing out from other climate change vulnerability assessments that do not also include the effects of multiple governance levels (i.e. political and economic globalization) on adaptive capacity to climate change, the book presents a detailed and complex insight into the vulnerabilities of the studied sectors. Further, Keskitalo's examination of stakeholder adaptive capacity in the European Arctic brings new insight and perspective to a mostly North American body of Arctic research."
– Rebeka Ryvola and Elena von Sperber, Carbon & Climate Law Review
- Introduction: Vulnerability Assessment in the Context of Multiple Levels and Impacts
- Structuring the Conceptions of Change
- A Methodology for Vulnerability Assessment
- Perceptions of Change, Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity among Forest Industry Stakeholders in Northern Sweden and Finland
- Perceptions of Change, Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity among Reindeer Herding Stakeholders in Northern Norway, Sweden and Finland
- Perceptions of Change, Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity among Fishing Stakeholders in Northernmost Norway
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E. Carina H. Keskitalo is Associate Professor of Political Science at Umea University, Sweden, and a researcher in national and international projects on adaptation to climate change.