From barriers to limits to climate change adaptation: path dependency and the speed of change

Barnett, Jon, Evans, Louisa S., Gross, Catherine, Kiem, Anthony S., Kingsford, Richard T., Palutikof, Jean P., Pickering, Catherine M., and Smithers, Scott G. (2015) From barriers to limits to climate change adaptation: path dependency and the speed of change. Ecology and Society, 20 (3). pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Research on the barriers and limits to climate change adaptation identifies many factors, but describes few processes whereby adaptation is constrained or may indeed fail to avoid catastrophic losses. It often assumes that barriers are by and large distinct from limits to adaptation. We respond to recent calls for comparative studies that are able to further knowledge about the underlying drivers of barriers and limits to adaptation. We compare six cases from across Australia, including those in alpine areas, rivers, reefs, wetlands, small inland communities, and islands, with the aim of identifying common underlying drivers of barriers and limits to adaptation. We find that the path-dependent nature of the institutions that govern natural resources and public goods is a deep driver of barriers and limits to adaptation. Path-dependent institutions are resistant to change. When this resistance causes the changes necessary for adaptation to be slower than changes in climate, then it becomes a limit to adaptation.

Item ID: 41865
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: communities, cultures, ecosystems, markets, path dependence, transformation, values
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance. This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Users may read, download, and link to any article. Authors, or where required by law, their employers, retain copyright.

ISSN: 1708-3087
Funders: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 15:13
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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