The Hazards of Mainstreaming 

Climate change adaptation politics in three dimensions

Under the threat of climate change and with disproportional impacts expected for the world’s poorest, the adaptation imperative confers renewed justification to development aid transfers, while the urgency of the problem lends itself to the uncritical application of existing solutions. Yet, an emerging body of work has raised critical questions about how adaptation is being conceived and implemented in the global South. We systematize and contribute to this critical scholarship by distinguishing three fundamental political dimensions of the adaptation problem, related to differential responsibility, the global uneven production of vulnerability, and unequal relations of power in adaptation decision-making itself. Further, based on research from across the global South, the paper suggests that the current program of ‘mainstreaming’ adaptation into existing development logics and structures perpetuates an antipolitics machine, obscuring and depoliticizing rather than addressing the political dimensions of the adaptation problem. Mainstreaming risks not only reproduceing development-as-usual, but in fact reinforcing technocratic patterns of control. The three-dimensional view of the politics of climate change adaptation is offered as an analytical perspective to sharpen and systematize future critical adaptation scholarship. In the conclusion, we highlight avenues toward enhanced attention to power and justice in climate change research and practice.

Source picture: National Geographic

Climate change and mountain water resources: overview and recommendations for research, management and policy

Mountains are essential sources of freshwater for our world, but their role in global water resources could well be significantly altered by climate change. How well do we understand these potentialchanges today, and what are implications for water resources management, climate change adaptation, andevolving water policy?

K; Vuille, Mathias; Woods, R (2011): Climate change and mountain water resources: overview and recommendations for research, management and policy. 
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15(2):471- 504. DOI: 

Financing Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: A Political-Economy Framework

Urban infrastructure investment is needed for both, mitigation of climate risks and improved urban resiliency. Financing them requires the translation of those benefits into measurable returns on investment in the context of emerging risks that capital markets can understand and appreciate.

This paper develops a generic framework to identify what are the necessary and sufficient factors to economically favor climate-change resilient infrastructure in private investment decisions. We specifically demonstrate that carbon pricing alone will not generate the needed will, because market prices at present systematically fail to account for climate change risks such as the costs of stranded assets and the national and local co-benefits of investments in climate resiliency. Carbon pricing is necessary, but not sufficient for an enhanced private financing of climate-resilient infrastructure. The Paris Agreement and other supra-local policies and actors including city networks can concretely help to generate the sufficient social and political will for investments into climate change mitigation and resiliency at the city level.

 UFZ Discussion Papers Department of Economics 1/2019 



Drinking-water and sanitation are foundations of public health and development. Citizens in developed countries take them largely for granted, yet they are carefully regulated by governments. In the developing world they are targets of development policy. Global climate change has been on the international agenda for over a quarter of a century. The process of climate change has been confirmed to be ongoing and some further changes are now considered unavoidable. Most impacts will be experienced through more droughts, floods, and less predictable rainfall and water flows. These will place established water and sanitation services – and future gains in access and service quality – at real risk. 
The impacts are likely to be dramatic and severe for the billions of people who continue to seek the elusive goal of meeting their own basic needs. The effects of climate change could also cause a substantive set-back in the developed world among those who feel confi dent that they have secured access to basic services.

World Health Organization 2009

Securing 2020 vision for 2030: climate change and ensuring resilience in water and sanitation services

Drinking-water supply and sanitation services are essential for human health, but their technologies and management systems are potentially vulnerable to climate change. An assessment was made of the resilience of water supply and sanitation systems against forecast climate changes by 2020 and 2030.
The results showed very few technologies are resilient to climate change and the sustainability of the current progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may be significantly undermined. Management approaches are more important than technology in building resilience for water supply, but the reverse is true for sanitation. Whilst climate change represents a significant threat to sustainable drinking-water and sanitation services, through no-regrets actions and using opportunities to increase service quality, climate change may be a driver for improvements that have been insufficiently delivered to date.

Journal of Water and Climate Change | 01.1 | 2010 

Global water crisis and future food security in an aera of climate change

Food policy should serve humanity by advancing the humane goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. However, these goals have recently been challenged by emerging forces including climate change, water scarcity, the energy crisis as well as the credit crisis.
This paper analyses the overall role of these forces and population growth in redefining global food security. Specifically, global water supply and demand as well as the linkages between water supply and food security are examined. The analysis reveals that the water for food security situation is intricate and might get daunting if no action is taken. Investments are needed today for enhancing future food security; this requires action on several fronts, including tackling climate change, preserving land and conserving water, reducing the energy footprint in food systems, developing and adopting climate resilient varieties, modernising irrigation infrastructure, shoring up domestic food supplies, reforming international food trade, and responding to other global challenges.

Food Policy 35 (2010) 365–377 

Water and Climate Change

Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Water availability is becoming less predictable in many places, and increased incidences of floodingthreaten to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate water sources.

In some regions, droughts are exacerbating water scarcity and thereby negatively impacting people’s health and productivity. Ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable water and sanitation services is a critical climate change mitigation strategy for the years ahead. 

Water and Climate Change

Das Wort WASSER kommt in internationalen Klimaabkommen selten vor, obwohl es eine Schlüsselrolle bei Themen wie Ernährungssicherheit, Energieerzeugung, wirtschaftliche Entwicklung und Armutsbekämpfung spielt“, erklärte Audrey Azouly, Generaldirektorin der UNESCO in ihrem Vorwort zum aktuellen World Water Development Report. Und sie appelliert dabei dringend: Das Potenzial von Wasser muss erforscht werden, da unsere Maßnahmen zur Reduzierung der globalen Erwärmung trotz der weitgehenden Einhaltung des Pariser Abkommens derzeit hinter unseren Ambitionen zurückbleiben.“
Auf mehr als 218 Seiten zeigt der neue Bericht, dass Wasser nicht als Problem, sondern als Teil der Lösung begriffen werden sollte. In 14 detaillierten illustrierten Kapiteln zeigen die Autor*innen, dass Wasser die Bemühungen zur Eindämmung und Anpassung an den Klimawandel durch Schutz von Feuchtgebieten, Erhaltung der Landwirtschaft und andere naturbasierte Lösungen unterstützen kann. Die entscheidende Tatsache dabei: Diese Lösungen können dazu beitragen, CO2 in Biomasse und Böden zu binden.

UNESCO 2020  
(Organisation der Vereinten Nationen für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur)


ISBN 978-92-3-100371-4

Managing climate change in drinking water reservoirs: potentials and limitations of dynamic withdrawal strategies 

Climate change induced a rise in surface water temperature and a prolongation of summer stratifcation in drinking water reservoirs. Stratifcation and temperature are important factors for drinking water production because they infuence bio-geo-chemical processes and thus afect water quality. Most drinking water reservoirs have outlet structures that allow water to be withdrawn from diferent depths at variable rates. The thermal structure of these reservoirs can thus be managed actively by means of dynamic withdrawal schemes.

Feldbauer et al. Environ Sci Eur (2020) 32:48 

Wider learning outcomes of European climate change adaptation projects: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis 

Learning in project settings may contribute to a societal transition when learning outcomes become situated in organizations or networks that are external to the project.
This paper examines to what extent and under which conditions European cooperation projects contribute to such wider learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are assessed using five progressing stages of knowledge utilization. We use fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to determine how seven potentially relevant conditions influence learning outcomes.
From the systematic comparison of 30 cases (i.e. organizations who participated in seven selected projects) we conclude that, on the short-term, there is no relation between high levels of project-internal learning and wider learning outcomes. For wider learning outcomes to occur, a project needs to be aligned with formal policy processes. When “policy agenda alignment” is present, “motivation”, “external actor involvement” and “project knowledge and communication” are sufficient for the use of project knowledge by external actors. 

J. Vinke-de Kruijf, et al. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 34 (2020) 270–297 

Sustainable Agriculture for Climate
Change Adaptation 

The agriculture sector not only contributes to climate change but, as a land-based industry, is also greatly affected by climate change. Agriculture has a key function in the role of the carbon and nitrogen cycles, contributing a significant proportion of methane and nitrous oxide toward global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than any other sector. 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that 17% of GHGs arise from agricultural activities directly, with a further 7% to 14% due to changes in land use. Agriculture will be a ffected by climate change, particularly in some parts of the world, where the extremes of its impact will be felt severely. Flooding and droughts are predicted to increase in frequency with an associated detrimental impact on crop productivity either due to prolonged water shortages or the creation of anoxic soil conditions and crop hypoxia. Flooded soils also promote the denitrification process and an increase in the release of nitrous oxide. 

Printed Edition of the Special Issue Published in Climate Kathy Lewis and Douglas Warner E 
This is a reprint of articles from the Special Issue published online in the open access journal Climate (ISSN 2225-1154) (available at: issues/ sustainable agriculture). 

An Agent-Based Approach to Integrated Assessment Modelling of Climate Change

There is an ongoing discussion concerning the relationship between social welfare and climate change, and thus the required level and type of measures needed to protect the climate. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) have been extended to incorporate technological progress, heterogeneity and uncertainty, making use of a (stochastic) dynamic equilibrium approach in order to derive a solution.

According to the literature, the IAM class of models does not take all the relationships among economic, social and environmental factors into account. Moreover, it does not consider these interdependencies at the micro-level, meaning that all possible consequences are not duly examined. Here, we propose an agent-based approach to analyse the relationship between economic welfare and climate protection. In particular, our aim is to analyse how the decisions of individual agents, allowing for the trade-off between economic welfare and climate protection, influence the aggregated emergent economic behaviour. Using this model, we estimate a damage function, with values in the order 3% - 4%for 2 C temperature increase and having a linear (or slightly concave) shape. We show that the heterogeneity of the agents, technological progress and the damage function may lead to lower GDP growth rates and greater temperature-related damage than what is forecast by models with solely homogeneous (representative) agents. 

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 23(3) 7, 2020 Doi: 10.18564/jasss.4325 Url: 

Climate change and Europe’s water resources 

In addition to the already existing pressure on our freshwater resources, climate change may further decrease water availability.
In this study, projections of future water resources, due to climate change, land use change and changes in water consumption have been assessed using JRC’s LISFLOOD water resources model. The results presented are based on 11 climate models which project current and future climate under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs): RCP4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenario. RCP4.5 may be viewed as a moderate-emissions-mitigation-policy scenario and RCP8.5 as a high-end emissions scenario. A 30-year window around the year that global warming reaches 1.5oC, 2oC and 3oC above preindustrial temperature has been analysed and compared to the 1981-2010 control climate window (baseline). The 1.5°C and 2°C warming scenarios are explicitly considered in the Paris Agreement, while a 3°C global warming is a scenario that could be expected by the end of the 21st century if adequate mitigation strategies are not taken. First, we performed future projections without socio-economic developments to show the effect of climate change only. Next, an integrated assessment is performed including future changes in land use, water demand and population. This allows us to disentangle the effects of climate and socio-economic changes. In general, the climate projections reveal a typically North-South pattern across Europe for water availability. Overall, Southern European countries are projected to face decreasing water availability, particularly Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Italy and Turkey. Central and Northern European countries show an increasing annual water availability. 

JRC Technical Report , European Commission 2020

Blau-grün-graue Infrastrukturen vernetzt planen und umsetzen

Ein Beitrag zur Klimaanpassung in Kommunen 

Infrastrukturen der Daseinsvorsorge stellen der Gesellschaft existentielle Güter und Leistungen bereit. Sie haben neben einer technisch-materiellen immer auch eine gesellschaftliche Dimension und spiegeln gesellschaftliche Vorstellungen z. B. von Ver- und Entsorgungsqualitäten und Sicherheit wider.
In der Siedlungswasserwirtschaft gilt es, die Bürger*innen ausreichend, zu erschwinglichen Preisen und zuverlässig mit qualitativ hochwertigem Trinkwasser zu versorgen und eine zuverlässige und sichere Sanitärversorgung zu gewährleisten. Die bestehenden Infrastruktursysteme werden – zum Beispiel durch demografische Veränderungen, den Druck zur Steigerung der Ressourcen- und Energieeffizienz zum Klimaschutz und die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels – in ihrer Funktionsweise und Gestaltung herausgefordert. Zugleich ergeben sich im Zuge des technologischen Wandels und der Digitalisierung neue Ansätze, Verfahren sowie zunehmend vernetzte und sektorenübergreifende Steuerungsoptionen.

Diese Veröffentlichung basiert auf Forschungsarbeiten im Verbundvorhaben „Resilient networks: Beiträge von städtischen Versorgungssystemen zur Klimagerechtigkeit (netWORKS 4)“. Das Forschungsprojekt netWORKS 4 wurde unter dem Förderkennzeichen 01UR1622A-D innerhalb der Fördermaßnahme „Nachhaltige Transformation urbaner Räume“ im Förderschwerpunkt „Sozial-ökologische Forschung“ als Bestandteil des BMBF-Programms „Forschung für nachhaltige Entwicklungen (FONA)“ vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) gefördert. 

A survey of urban climate change experiments in 100 cities

Cities are key sites where climate change is being addressed. Previous research has largely overlooked the multiplicity of climate change responses emerging outside formal contexts of decision-making and led by actors other than municipal governments. 
Moreover, existing research has largely focused on case studies of climate change mitigation in developed economies. The objective of this paper is to uncover the heterogeneous mix of actors, settings, governance arrangements and technologies involved in the governance of climate change in cities in different parts of the world.

Global Environmental Change 23 (2013) 92–102

How Climate Change Impacts Water Access

The water cycle is part of our everyday lives, but climate change may have dire consequences for everyday water access.

Herder Collecting Water

Climate change is already hurting water access for people around the world. Here, a Samburu herder collects water for his flock in Sahara Conservancy, Kenya.

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Source Picture: National Geographic