Nick Brooks, W. Neil Adger and P. Mick Kelly
Vulnerability; adaptive capacity; climate change and adaptation; climate related mortality; governance; civil and political rights.
We present a set of indicators of vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate variability, and by extension climate change, derived using a novel empirical analysis of data aggregated at the national level on a decadal timescale. The analysis is based on a conceptual framework in which risk is viewed in terms of outcome, and is a function of physically defined climate hazards and socially constructed vulnerability. Climate outcomes are represented by mortality from climate-related disasters, using the emergency events database data set, statistical relationships between mortality and a shortlist of potential proxies for vulnerability are used to identify key vulnerability indicators. We find that 11 key indicators exhibit a strong relationship with decadally aggregated mortality associated with climate-related disasters. Validation of indicators, relationships between vulnerability and adaptive capacity, and the sensitivity of subsequent vulnerability assessments to different sets of weightings are explored using expert judgment data, collected through a focus group exercise. The data are used to provide a robust assessment of vulnerability to climate-related mortality at the national level, and represent an entry point to more detailed explorations of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. They indicate that the most vulnerable nations are those situated in sub-Saharan Africa and those that have recently experienced conflict. Adaptive capacity—one element of vulnerability—is associated predominantly with governance, civil and political rights, and literacy.
(2005) 15 Global Environmental Change, 151.
The determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity at the national level and the implications for adaptation.
David B. Lobell
Agriculture, climate change, food security, hunger, global warming
Roughly a billion people around the world continue to live in state of chronic hunger and food insecurity. Unfortunately, efforts to improve their livelihoods must now unfold in the context of a rapidly changing climate, in which warming temperatures and changing rainfall regimes could threaten the basic productivity of the agricultural systems on which most of the world’s poor directly depend. But whether climate change represents a minor impediment or an existential threat to development is an area of substantial controversy, with different conclusions wrought from different methodologies and based on different data.
This book aims to resolve some of the controversy by exploring and comparing the different methodologies and data that scientists use to understand climate’s effects on food security. In explains the nature of the climate threat, the ways in which crops and farmers might respond, and the potential role for public and private investment to help agriculture adapt to a warmer world. This broader understanding should prove useful to both scientists charged with quantifying climate threats, and policy-makers responsible for crucial decisions about how to respond. The book is especially suitable as a companion to an interdisciplinary undergraduate or graduate level class.
David B. Lobell and Marshall Burke, Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World (Springer, 2010)
Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World