Chapter 15: Vulnerability
Much previous research on climate governance and vulnerability has focused on reducing the risks posed by physical climatic events such as storms and floods. Increasingly, debates about governance now emphasize the diverse experiences of climate risk, and how definitions of ‘vulnerability’ also reflect assumptions about ‘impacts,’ ‘risks,’ ‘resilience’ and ‘adaptation.’ This chapter summarizes how climate governance is now diversifying these definitions and acknowledging more diverse drivers of vulnerability such as social and economic marginalization, especially in developing countries. But despite the highlighting of these approaches within the IPCC Working Group 2, much mainstream discussion of vulnerability to climate impacts—such as concerning proposed links between climate change and violent conflict in Africa—still focus more upon physical changes resulting from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations rather than social and political contexts. Debates about governance and vulnerability to climate change increasingly seek to acknowledge more diverse approaches to risk and resilience through activities such as greater stakeholder consultation. In addition, research on governance is focusing more upon questioning the assumptions made about risk within expert organizations and public policy debates.
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