Research Handbook on Climate Governance
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Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.
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Chapter 43: Resilience

Carolina E. Adler, Paulina Aldunce, Katherine Indvik, Denís Alegría, Roxana Borquez and Victor Galaz


Despite receiving relatively little traction in climate change discussions among scholars and policymakers in the early 1990s, the term ‘climate resilience’ is now moving rapidly into prominent policy arenas and academic fora. However, how useful is the term in enabling normative aspirations to reduce net losses to climate change impacts? In this chapter, we first take stock of this seemingly rapid rise in the use of the term by presenting an overview of the progress and ongoing discussions on ‘climate resilience.’ This chapter illustrates these trends based on evidence of the terms’ growth and evolution over the years in two realms: within academia and in public policy. In both cases, we find an increasing trend in the way ‘climate resilience’ is conceptualized and used in academia and in public policy, yet these trends present different challenges and consequences for each case. Taking a problem-oriented approach, we conclude that despite the term’s popularity and growth, a critical review of its measurable effectiveness and pragmatic utility is still needed. Evaluating the terms utility in application is particularly important in light of recent conceptualizations of the climate resilience imperative as ‘transformation’ in a changing climate. We recommend some possible avenues for further research to address this deficit.

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