Fair adaptation to climate change

This article identifies social justice dilemmas associated with the necessity to adapt to climate change, examines how they are currently addressed by the climate change regime, and proposes solutions to overcome prevailing gaps and ambiguities. We argue that the key justice dilemmas of adaptation include responsibility for climate change impacts, the level and burden sharing of assistance to vulnerable countries for adaptation, distribution of assistance between recipient countries and adaptation measures, and fair participation in planning and making decisions on adaptation. We demonstrate how the climate change regime largely omits responsibility but makes a general commitment to assistance. However, the regime has so far failed to operationalise assistance and has made only minor progress towards eliminating obstacles for fair participation. We propose the adoption of four principles for fair adaptation in the climate change regime. These include avoiding dangerous climate change, forward-looking responsibility, putting the most vulnerable first and equal participation of all. We argue that a safe maximum standard of 400–500 ppm of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and a carbon tax of $20–50 per carbon equivalent ton could provide the initial instruments for operationalising the principles. [1]

Observed adaptation to climate change: UK evidence of transition to a well-adapting society

This paper investigates whether and to what extent a wide range of actors in the UK are adapting to climate change, and whether this is evidence of a social transition. We document evidence of over 300 examples of early adopters of adaptation practice to climate change in the UK. These examples span a range of activities from small adjustments (or coping), to building adaptive capacity, to implementing actions and to creating deeper systemic change in public and private organisations in a range of sectors. We find that adaptation in the UK has been dominated by government initiatives and has principally occurred in the form of research into climate change impacts. These government initiatives have stimulated a further set of actions at other scales in public agencies, regulatory agencies and regional government (and the devolved administrations), though with little real evidence of climate change adaptation initiatives trickling down to local government level. The sectors requiring significant investment in large scale infrastructure have invested more heavily than those that do not in identifying potential impacts and adaptations. Thus we find a higher level of adaptation activity by the water supply and flood defence sectors. Sectors that are not dependent on large scale infrastructure appear to be investing far less effort and resources in preparing for climate change. We conclude that the UK government-driven top-down targeted adaptation approach has generated anticipatory action at low cost in some areas. We also conclude that these actions may have created enough niche activities to allow for diffusion of new adaptation practices in response to real or perceived climate change. These results have significant implications for how climate policy can be developed to support autonomous adaptors in the UK and other countries. [2]

Farmers’ perception and adaptation to climate change: a case study of Sekyedumase district in Ghana

Climate change is projected to have serious environmental, economic, and social impacts on Ghana, particularly on rural farmers whose livelihoods depend largely on rainfall. The extent of these impacts depends largely on awareness and the level of adaptation in response to climate change. This study examines the perception of farmers in Sekyedumase district of Ashanti region of Ghana on climate change and analyzes farmers’ adaptation responses to climate change. A hundred and eighty farming households were interviewed in February and October 2009. Results showed that about 92% of the respondents perceived increases in temperature, while 87% perceived decrease in precipitation over the years. The major adaptation strategies identified included crop diversification, planting of short season varieties, change in crops species, and a shift in planting date, among others. Results of logit regression analysis indicated that the access to extension services, credit, soil fertility, and land tenure are the four most important factors that influence farmers’ perception and adaptation. The main barriers included lack of information on adaptation strategies, poverty, and lack of information about weather. Even though the communities are highly aware of climate issues, only 44.4% of farmers have adjusted their farming practices to reduce the impacts of increasing temperature and 40.6% to decreasing precipitation, giving lack of funds as the main barrier to implementing adaptation measure. Implications for policymaking will be to make credit facilities more flexible, to invest in training more extension officers and more education on climate change and adaptation strategies. [3]

Use of Indigenous Knowledge as a Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation among Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for Policy

The study discusses use of indigenous knowledge as a strategy for climate change adaptation among farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. The local farmers in this region through the indigenous knowledge systems have developed and implemented extensive adaptation strategies that have enabled them reduce vulnerability to climate variability and change over the years. However, this knowledge is rarely taken into consideration in the design and implementation of modern mitigation and adaptation strategies. This paper highlights some indigenous adaptation strategies that have been practiced in sub-Saharan Africa and the benefits of integrating such indigenous knowledge into formal climate change adaptation strategies. The study recommends the need to incorporate indigenous knowledge into climate change policies that can lead to the development of effective adaptation strategies that are cost-effective, participatory and sustainable. [4]

Adaptation to Climate Change by Farmers in Makurdi, Nigeria

The increasing trend of climate change has led to growing concern on its impact on different sectors of the economy particularly on agriculture. Coping with the vulnerability and negative effects of climate change on agriculture requires mitigation at the policy level and adaptation at the farm level. However, the ability of farmers to adopt the various adaptation strategies may be constrained by a number of factors. Therefore, this study identified the climate adaptation strategies adopted by farmers in Makurdi, Nigeria and subsequently examined the determinants of farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change. The primary data used in this study were collected through structured questionnaires administered to 120 randomly selected farmers. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analyzing the data. Results shows that about 58% of the farmers adopted at least one of the following climate change adaptation strategies: cultivating diff type of crop, shortening growing season, changing extent of land put in crop production, use of irrigation as water source, use of chemical fertilizer, mulching, planting of cover crops, planting of resistant crop varieties, changing of planting dates, adoption of new techniques and use of drainage system. Logit regression was used to identify factors that influence the strategies employed by famers for adaptation to climate change. The result of the logit model showed that annual farm income, farming experience, knowledge of climate information, education and extension access variables are significant determinants of climate change adaptation strategies.

The study recommends the promulgation of policies to ensure that farmers have access to physical, human and social capital will enhance farmers’ ability to respond effectively to changing climate conditions. [5]


[1] Paavola, J. and Adger, W.N., 2006. Fair adaptation to climate change. Ecological economics, 56(4), pp.594-609.

[2] Tompkins, E.L., Adger, W.N., Boyd, E., Nicholson-Cole, S., Weatherhead, K. and Arnell, N., 2010. Observed adaptation to climate change: UK evidence of transition to a well-adapting society. Global environmental change, 20(4), pp.627-635.

[3] Fosu-Mensah, B.Y., Vlek, P.L. and MacCarthy, D.S., 2012. Farmers’ perception and adaptation to climate change: a case study of Sekyedumase district in Ghana. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14(4), pp.495-505.

[4] Ajani, E. N., Mgbenka, R. N. and Okeke, M. N. (2013) “Use of Indigenous Knowledge as a Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation among Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for Policy”, Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, 2(1), pp. 23-40. doi: 10.9734/AJAEES/2013/1856.

[5] Okpe, B. and Aye, G. (2014) “Adaptation to Climate Change by Farmers in Makurdi, Nigeria”, Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, 2(1), pp. 46-57. doi: 10.9734/JAERI/2015/12169.

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