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Drawing on concepts in political economy, political ecology, justice theory, and critical development studies, the authors offer the first comprehensive, systematic exploration of the ways in which adaptation projects can produce unintended, undesirable results.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction to the Political Economy of Climate Change Adaptation

Abstract
In 2007, Percy Schmeiser, an elderly farmer from Saskatchewan, Canada, unknowingly harvested a crop of canola that contained a herbicide-resistant gene patented by one of the world’s largest agricultural biotechnology companies, Monsanto.1 Schmeiser claimed that the canola had sprouted from seeds that had blown off passing trucks or spread from adjacent fields and mistakenly taken root on his farm — meaning he was not liable for patent infringement. Monsanto disagreed, and the case went all the way to the Canadian Supreme court, which reached a “bizarre” 5–4 decision that Schmeiser had infringed upon Monsanto’s patents, but was not liable for any damages.2
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

2. Bamboo Thumping Bandits: The Political Economy of Climate Adaptation in Bangladesh

Abstract
Bangladesh contributes little to global greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Because it sits at the intersection of three major river basins, illustrated in Figure 2.1, and features flat deltaic topography with low elevation, it is prone to a multitude of climate-related events such as floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and storm surges. Fifteen percent of its 162 million people live within one-meter elevation from high tide,1 and annual floods inundate between 20 and 70 percent of the country’s landmass each year.2 Bangladesh has high population density and rates of poverty. It is the seventh most populous country in the world, with a density greater than one thousand persons per square kilometer.3 Yearly per capita income ranges from $400 to $1,700 (depending upon what counts and whether purchasing power parity is considered).4 Bangladesh also has extreme climate variability, naturally alternating between seasons of monsoon and winter drought, and the nation is dependent upon crop agriculture, which is highly sensitive to changes in climate.5 Two-thirds of Bangladesh’s critical infrastructure sits five meters or less above sea level and Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country in the world to tropical cyclones and the sixth most vulnerable to floods.6
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

3. Degraded Seascapes: The Political Economy of the Dutch Delta Works

Abstract
To some, the topic of storm surge — rising water commonly associated with low-pressure weather systems such as tropical cyclones — might sound mundane, but it could pose a colossal threat to humanity by the end of this century. For instance, one team of researchers found that, due to climate change, average storm surge damages were likely rise from $10 billion to $40 billion in 2014 to possibly $210 trillion ($2100,000 billion) by 2100, representing as much as 9.3 % of global GDP and affecting up to 600 million people.1 Low elevation coastal zones around the world cover only about two percent of landmass but contain more than ten percent of the human population.2 A team of Chinese researchers projected that no less than 57 countries will face significant storm surge impacts by the end of this century.3 Those researchers estimated that Australia and the United States will exhibit the greatest inundated areas; Bangladesh, India, China the most affected populations; and the United States, China, Japan, and Mexico the greatest economic losses.4 An article in Nature warns that “climate change and sea-level rise present major challenges to each of the world’s delta regions, which together harbor about 70% of the world’s population and economic resources.”5 Indeed, by combining future global sea level rise with tide gauge water levels, another research team expects that today’s “once in a century” storm surges might become “once in a decade” storms in the future.6
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

4. Bloated Bodies: The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina Recovery

Abstract
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the United States, hitting the coast of Louisiana with wind speeds of 125 miles per hour near Buras-Triumph.1 It was not the strongest of storms in terms of wind speeds, central pressures, or intensity — it was only a Category 3 hurricane — but its particular location along the Gulf Coast, and its abundant amount of rainfall and storm surge made it “the most devastating and costly hurricane in US history.”2 At least 1,800 people died in the hurricane and its subsequent floods, and total cleanup and repair costs have been estimated at $80 billion to $400 billion.3 Although the storm’s wrath was felt from central Florida to Southern Texas, most of the damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, after its levee system failed and about 80 percent of the city was flooded with stagnant water for many weeks.4 That catastrophe was so stark that one expert has called it “the worst civil engineering disaster” in American history.5
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

5. The Perils of Climate Diplomacy: The Political Economy of the UNFCCC

Abstract
For all intents and purposes, climate change has resulted in a massive, accidental experiment involving the entire planet and requiring concerted action around the world. In February 2015, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory recorded an atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at 399 parts per million,1 the highest it has been in hundreds of millions of years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could exceed 1,000 parts per million by volume by the year 2050 if trends continue.2
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

6. Principles and Best Practices for Climate Change Adaptation

Abstract
One of the central dilemmas in politics, public policy, and economics is that markets “work” only at distributing certain types of goods. They tend to be efficient at distributing private goods such as bicycles or hamburgers — where property rights can be completely defined and protected, where owners can exclude others from access, and where property rights can be transferred or sold1 — but less effective at common pool resources such as fish in the high seas or grasslands for grazing, which require agreed-upon rules or sanctions. Unfettered economic markets are almost always completely ineffective at distributing these common pool resources. Designing workable, viable management of common pool resources is “tremendously difficult,” since in many cases success depends upon creating an “inverse commons” where material scarcity is not a concern and each additional user increases value rather than diminishes it.2
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

7. Insights from Political Economy for Adaptation Policy and Practice

Abstract
Environmental studies professor David W. Orr once wrote about a remarkable experiment involving two different groups of kittens, raised in rooms that differed only in the color of their walls.1 One group was raised in a room painted with horizontal lines, the other with vertical lines. After several weeks, the kittens were moved from one room to the other. Despite the fact that both environments were identical with the exception of the lines on the walls, both groups suffered severe adjustment problems, including higher mortality rates. The implications of the study concerning perception and adaptability to the environment are interesting, but also telling in a human context. Orr’s research prompts us to ask: if we are forced to adapt to much more serious situations, will humans experience similar degrees of coping difficulties? More importantly, if the political economy aspects we identify in this book are correct, will some malevolent actors create disorientation by design, utilizing chaos and confusion to hide the underlying processes endowing them with wealth and power?
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Björn-Ola Linnér

Backmatter

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