How do we move forward, and build on, strengthen, or even go beyond COP28’s commitments? Twelve leading voices on climate adaptation share what they believe are the top priorities to address urgent adaptation needs worldwide.
The focus of my research is what causes people to be vulnerable to climate change in the Global South, and the barriers and enablers for people to adapt to the changes in climate. I am particularly interested in socio-cultural dimensions of vulnerability, including gender, culture and religion, as well as structural issues related to power, justice and equity. I have lived and worked in Central and South America, East Africa and South and Southeast Asia.
My research has shown how understanding socio-cultural and other underlying development factors that drive vulnerability to climate change is vital for identifying the most effective adaptation strategies, but that this knowledge is rarely present in adaptation planning. Recent work (Eriksen et al., 2021) shows how adaptation strategies can end up making people more, rather than less, vulnerable. Other work focuses on the complexities of understanding maladaptation (Schipper, 2020; Magnan et al., 2020) and explores the challenges that remain with respect to understanding how to connect climate change and development (Schipper, Eriksen et al., 2020; Schipper, Tanner et al., 2020). Other research has explored the way in which religious belief influences people's perceptions of hazards and willingness to take action (Schipper, 2010; Schipper et al., 2014; Schipper, 2015).
The IPCC Working Group II report released in early 2022 featured climate resilient development as the way forward to achieve a liveable and sustainable future for all. The chapter I co-led on climate resilient development pathways (Schipper et al, 2022) describes how adaptation to climate change and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions must be integrated in efforts to achieve sustainable development: that is climate resilient development.
These findings underscore that in order to achieve climate resilient development, funding agencies, development actors and climate policy makers to engage more with what drives vulnerability to climate change.