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Climate change adaptation at different levels of government: Characteristics and conditions of policy change

Christoph Clar and Reinhard Steurer

Natural Resources Forum, 2019, vol. 43, issue 2, 121-131

Abstract: Climate change adaptation strategies that aim to minimize harm and maximize benefits related to climate change impacts have mushroomed at all levels of government in recent years. While many studies have explored barriers that stand in the way of their implementation, the factors determining their potential to mainstream adaptation into various sectors are less clear. In the present paper, we aim to address this gap for two international, six national, and six local adaptation strategies. Based on document analyses and 35 semi‐structured interviews, the 14 case studies also explore in how far the factors facilitating climate change adaptation are similar across levels of government or level‐specific. Although located at three different levels of government, we find that the 14 adaptation strategies analyzed here represent “one‐size‐fits‐all governance arrangements” that are characterized by voluntariness and a lack institutionalization. Since adaptation strategies are relatively weak coordination hubs that are unable to force adaptation onto sectoral policy agendas, they rely mainly on sectoral self‐interest in adapting to climate change, largely determined by problem pressure. We conclude that one‐size‐fits‐all governance arrangements are rarely adequate responses to complex challenges, such as climate change. Although climate change adaptation depends more on framework conditions such as problem pressure than on administrative or governance features, the findings presented here can help to understand under what circumstances adaptation is likely to make progress.

Date: 2019
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https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-8947.12168

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wly:natres:v:43:y:2019:i:2:p:121-131

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