Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change

Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change

Edited by W. Neil Adger, Jouni Paavola, Saleemul Huq and M. J. Mace





As a global society, we need to take action not only to prevent the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change but also to adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change already imposed on the world. Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change looks at the challenges of ensuring that policy responses to climate change do not place undue and unfair burdens on already vulnerable populations. All countries will be endangered by climate change risks from flood, drought, and other extreme weather events, but developing countries are more dependent on climate-sensitive livelihoods such as farming and fishing and hence are more vulnerable. Despite this, the concerns of developing countries are marginalized in climate policy decisions that exacerbate current vulnerabilities.

Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change brings together scholars from political science, economics, law, human geography, and climate science to offer the first assessment of the social justice issues in adaptation to climate change. The book outlines the philosophical underpinnings of different types of justice in relation to climate change, present inequities, and future burdens, and it applies these to real world examples of climate change adaptation in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, and Hungary. It argues that the key to adapting to climate change lies in recognizing the equity and justice issues inherent in its causes and in human responses to it.

ContributorsW. Neil Adger, Paul Baer, Jon Barnett, Maria Bohn, Kirstin Dow, Saleemul Huq, Roger E. Kasperson, Mizan R. Khan, Janica Lane, Neil A. Leary, Robin Leichenko, Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer, M. J. Mace, Karen O'Brien, Jouni Paavola, Stephen H. Schneider, David S. G. Thomas, Chasca Twyman, Anna Vári


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262012270 336 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 17 illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262511933 336 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 17 illus.


W. Neil Adger

W. Neil Adger leads the research effort on adaptation at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

Jouni Paavola

Jouni Paavola is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment at the University of East Anglia.

Saleemul Huq

Saleemul Huq is Director of the Climate Change Programme at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London.

M. J. Mace

M. J. Mace is a staff lawyer at the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development's Climate Change and Energy Programme.


  • This book is a timely source of information and analysis that will be valuable in determining actions for meeting the threat of climate change post-2012. The contributors provide important insights into the critical issues of burden sharing and equity considerations, which must define the global approach in this area. The book will be particularly for negotiators involved in the UNFCCC process, as well as researchers dealing with a host of issues relating to the future of human society.

    R.K Pachauri

    Director- General, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi

  • Questions that arise at the intersection of adaptation and justice have been largely ignored, yet they are absolutely central to the future...This book significantly advances the discussion of justice in adaptation to climate chnage.

    Dale Jamieson

    Environmental Studies and Philosophy, New York University

  • This is a brilliant book—clear, direct, and scholarly as well as committed. The authors bring adaptation to the forefront of climate change debate. Who owes what to whom in this era of common yet differentiated responsibility? Fairness is critical to successful climate change policy, and this book shows us the way.

    Andrew Dobson

    Professor of Politics, Keele University, UK