Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Governance of Wicked Climate Adaptation Problems

A book chapter on "Governance of Wicked Climate Adaptation Problems" that is due to appear in a Springer book on Climate Change Governance in 2013 has already been published on-line. I worked on this with my colleagues Katrien Termeer and Gerard Breeman. We discuss the wicked problem characteristics of climate change adaptation and explore the potential of theories about reflexivity, responsiveness, resilience and revitalization to deal with these challenges.

Here's the abstract:

Climate change adaptation has been called a ‘‘wicked problem par excellence.’’ Wicked problems are hard to define because ‘the formulation of the problem is the problem; they are considered a symptom of another problem; they are highly resistant to solutions and extremely interconnected with other problems. Climate change problems are even more complex because they lack a well- structured policy domain, and knowledge about climate change is uncertain and contested. Given the wicked characteristics of the climate issue and its particular challenges, the question is which theories are useful starting points for the gov- ernance of climate adaptation? The chapter distinguishes between theories and concepts that focus on reflexivity, on resilience, on responsiveness and on revitalisation. Instead of integrating these theories in one overarching governance approach, the chapter suggests an approach of theoretical multiplicity. It proposes that exploiting the variety of concepts and strategies based on the different theories can increase the governance capacity to deal with climate change. Finally, it addresses the moral dimension of wicked problems, which suggests that it is unacceptable to treat a wicked problem as though it were a tame one. Governance scholars nowadays risk raising expectations far beyond their ability to deliver, and thus enhance confusions over whether wicked problems are in fact tame ones.

Termeer, C., Dewulf, A., & Breeman, G. (2013). Governance of Wicked Climate Adaptation Problems. In J. Knieling & W. Leal Filho (Eds.), Climate Change Governance (pp. 27–39). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

The article can be found at http://www.springerlink.com/content/p2t1403q3075871m/ or downloaded here.

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