Climate Change and Human Security

Climate Change and Human Security

The Challenge to Local Governance under Rapid Coastal Urbanization

Michael R. Redclift, David Manuel-Navarette and Mark Pelling

The challenge presented by climate change is, by its nature, global. The populations of the Mexican Caribbean, the focus of this book, are faced by everyday decisions not unlike those in the urban North. The difference is that for the people of the Mexican Caribbean evidence of the effects of climate change, including hurricanes, is very familiar to them. This important study documents the choices and risks of people who are powerless to change the economic development model which is itself forcing climate change.

Chapter 6: Governance as Process: The Evolution of ‘Power Spheres’ and Climate Change

Michael R. Redclift, David Manuel-Navarette and Mark Pelling

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, urban and regional studies, urban studies


INTRODUCTION Governance evokes a set of considerations other than conventional ‘topdown’ government control. Academic communities dealing with climate change, disasters and development assistance tend to equate governance with the sociopolitical conditions affecting the policies that are needed to cope with climatic stimuli or their effects (Burton et al., 2002). These policies are typically thought of in terms of regulations, plans, oneoff interventions or incentives. For instance, they may include actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, plans to deal with the impacts of hydro-meteorological extreme phenomena, or incentives to change the behaviour of economic actors (Adger, 2001). These behavioural changes may be directed towards preventing loss, tolerating loss, spreading loss socially, or changing use, activity or location (Burton et al., 1993). Policy interventions and incentives can be infrastructural, legal, legislative, institutional, administrative, organizational, regulatory, financial, research and development, market-oriented and technological (Carter et al., 1994). Climate change adaptation may require modifying the conditions of governance under which regulations, interventions and incentives are designed and implemented, in order to increase policy effectiveness. In fact, the modification of governance structures has been proposed as a means for enhancing adaptive capacity (Adger, 2000; Pelling, 2003; Baker and Refsgaard, 2007). The notion of governance structure includes both institutional configurations and social actors. It refers to evolving (formal and informal) patterns of relationship among the state, market players, civil society and individuals. Approaches based on the modification of existing governance structures seek to transcend the notion of ‘mainstreaming’, which seeks to integrate adaptation goals and actions...

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