Jon Barnett: Climate Adaptation Not Just Building Infrastructure, But Expanding Options


think it’s appropriate to think about [climate change] adaptation or investments in adaptation as investments to open up the range of choices available to people

to deal with

an uncertain future,” said Jon Barnett, associate professor of geography at the University of Melbourne, in an interview with ECSP. “In some circumstances it might be appropriate to build infrastructure and hard options where we’re very certain about the nature of the risk…but in other cases, expanding the range of choices and freedoms and opportunities that people have to deal with climate change in the future is perhaps the better strategy.”

For example, providing education, especially for girls, would allow individuals to better negotiate the world

and labor markets; installing renewable energy systems in areas lacking electricity would greatly expand the choices for remote households; and altering immigration laws would allow more fluid movements of people.

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