Analytical lenses on barriers in the governance of climate change adaptation

Biesbroek, G.R., Termeer, C.J.A.M., Klostermann, J.E.M., & Kabat, P. (2014). Analytical lenses on barriers in the governance of climate change adaptation. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 19 (7) 1011-1032. 10.1007/s11027-013-9457-z.

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Barriers to adaptation have become an important concept in scientific and political discussions in the governance of climate change adaptation. Over the past years, these discussions have been dominated by one analytical lens in examining barriers and proposing ways to overcome them: the problem solving lens. In this paper, we aim to demonstrate theoretically and empirically that the choice of analytical lens influences how barriers to adaptation are constructed and the intervention strategies proposed. Drawing from recent governance literature, we explore the rationale of three dominant philosophies in the study of governance: the optimist, the realist, and the pessimist philosophy. Next, we demonstrate how these philosophies are operationalized and guide scientific inquiry on barriers to adaptation through four empirically rooted analytical lenses: (i) governance as problem solving, (ii) governance as competing values and interests, (iii) governance as institutional interaction, and iv) governance as dealing with structural constraints. We investigate the Dutch government's Spatial Adaptation to Climate Change programme through each of the four lenses. We discuss how each analytical lens frames barriers in a specific way, identifies different causes of barriers, leads to competing interpretations of key events, and presents other types of interventions to overcome barriers. We conclude that it is necessary to increase analytical variety in order to critically engage in theoretical debates about barriers and to empower policy practitioners in their search for successful intervention strategies to implement adaptation measures.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Directorate (DIR)
Water (WAT)
Bibliographic Reference: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change; 19(7):1011-1032 (October 2014) (Published online 18 April 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:24

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