An agenda for ethics and justice in adaptation to climate change

Byskov, Morten Fibieger; Hyams, Keith; Satyal, Poshendra; Anguelovski, Isabelle; Benjamin, Lisa; Blackburn, Sophie; Borie, Maud; Caney, Simon; Chu, Eric; Edwards, Gareth; Fourie, Kristel; Fraser, Arabella; Heyward, Clare; Jeans, Helen; McQuistan, Colin; Paavola, Jouni; Page, Ed; Pelling, Mark; Priest, Sally; Swiderska, Krystyna; Tarazona, Marcela; Thornton, Thomas; Twigg, John and Venn, Alice (2021). An agenda for ethics and justice in adaptation to climate change. Climate and Development, 13(1) pp. 1–9.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2019.1700774

Abstract

As experts predict that at least some irreversible climate change will occur with potentially disastrous effects on the lives and well-being of vulnerable communities around the world, it is paramount to ensure that these communities are resilient and have adaptive capacity to withstand the consequences. Adaptation and resilience planning present several ethical issues that need to be resolved if we are to achieve successful adaptation and resilience to climate change. In this paper, we present six core discussions that should be an integral part of adaptation and resilience planning: (i) Where does ‘justice’ feature in resilience and adaptation planning and what does it require in that regard?; (ii) How can it be ensured that adaptation and resilience strategies protect, take into consideration, and represent the interest of the most vulnerable individuals and communities?; (iii) How can different forms of knowledge be integrated within adaptation and resilience planning?; (iv) What trade-offs need to be made when focusing on resilience and adaptation and how can they be resolved?; (v) What roles and responsibilities do different actors have to build resilience and achieve adaptation?; (vi) Finally, what does the focus on ethics imply for the practice of adaptation and resilience planning?

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