Today is adaptation day at COP26. Here is a seminar led by Tyndall Centre’s Adaptation and Resilience team.
That the impacts of climate change will unduly affect the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world is well established. Climate change is embedded within the same complex and interconnected socio-economic, political, technological, industrial and environmental systems as poverty and inequality. Yet, too often the more social and political explanations that seek to challenge structures that maintain and reproduce poverty, inequality and vulnerability are obscured and the status quo is maintained. For example, apolitical framing and neo liberal discourse can push responsibility for climate adaptation on to individuals and communities who are often ill-equipped to respond effectively. (c.f. Bettini et al 2017). Similarly, the promotion of triple wins or co-benefits in relation to progress on adaptation, mitigation and development remains persuasive and influential but obscures the difficult decisions and choices that will inevitably be required as we look to the future (c.f. Ellis & Tschakert 2019). Taken together, these examples highlight that contemporary institutional and power constellations can recreate and perpetuate landscapes that entrench existing inequalities. This seminar will critically explore issues of adaptation and inequality within this contested terrain and ask how we can create conditions through which the needs of disempowered populations are more fairly and justly included within thinking and action on adaptation.