Vulnerability to climate change
Vulnerability refers to the susceptibility of a person, group, society or system to physical or emotional injury or attack, or financial, environmental or human losses.
In global warming, vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extreme weather events. The resulting loss depends on the vulnerability of the affected population to resist the hazard, also called their resilience. This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability."
Vulnerability research covers a complex, multidisciplinary field including development and poverty studies, public health, climate studies, security studies, engineering, geography, political ecology, and disaster and risk management. This research is of particular importance and interest for organizations trying to reduce vulnerability – especially as related to poverty and other Millennium Development Goals. Many institutions are conducting interdisciplinary research on vulnerability, including measurement and assessment methods, and effective communication of research to decision makers.
Within the body of literature related to vulnerability, major research streams include questions of methodology, such as: measuring and assessing vulnerability, including finding appropriate indicators for various aspects of vulnerability, up- and downscaling methods, and participatory methods.
The Center for Global Development assessed the vulnerability of 233 countries to three major effects of climate change (weather-related disasters, sea-level rise, and reduced agricultural productivity), using a methodology to craft assistance for adaptation to climate change. The paper includes assistance for the 20 island states that are both small and poor to adapt to sea-level rise and general assistance for all low-income countries to adapt to extreme weather changes, sea-level rise, and reduced agricultural productivity.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Adaptation to climate change
- Bali Road Map
- Accra Climate Change Talks 2008
- Clean Development Mechanism
- Emissions Trading
- Environmental justice
- Joint Implementation
- Kyoto Protocol
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- G. Bankoff, G. Frerks, D. Hilhorst (eds.) (2003). Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People. ISBN ISBN 1-85383-964-7.
- B. Wisner, P. Blaikie, T. Cannon, and I. Davis (2004). At Risk - Natural hazards, people's vulnerability and disasters. Wiltshire: Routledge. ISBN ISBN 0-415-25216-4.
- David Wheeler, "Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change: Implications for Adaptation Assistance - Working Paper 240" Center for Global Development, January 2011.
- "Climate Change and Migration: Developing a Future Research Agenda," Research Council of Norway
- "Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century" Oslo Conference, June 2011
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