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Perspectives on transformational change in climate risk management and adaptation

In the context of strong evidence on mounting climate-related risks and impacts across the globe, the need for 'transformational change' in climate risk management and adaptation responses has been brought forward as an important element to achieve the Paris ambitions. In the past decade, the concept has experienced increasing popularity in policy debates and academic discussions but has seen heterogeneous applications and little practical insight. The paper aims to identify relevant perspectives on transformative approaches and transformational change in the context of climate risk management and adaptation to propose an actionable definition for practical application. Using a systematic search and review approach, we review different perspectives across policy and scientific publications, focusing on work published in the past decade and identify common features of what transformational change in the context of climate risk management and adaptation may involve. We show that different perspectives on transformational change in the context of climate risk management and adaptation persist, but certain areas of convergence are discernible. This includes understanding transformational change as part of a spectrum that begins with incremental change; involves climate risk management and adaptation measures focusing on deep-rooted, system-level change and tends to aim at enabling more just and sustainable futures; often oriented towards the long-term, in anticipation of future climate-related developments. In addition, we identify an 'operationalisation gap' in terms of translating transformational change ambitions into concrete transformative measures that can be replicated in practice.
Author: Deubelli, Teresa Maria; Mechler, Reinhard
Language: English
Pubished By: Environmental Research Letters
Pubished date: 2021

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