The Adaptation Policy Paradox: The Implementation Deficit of Policies Framed as Climate Change Adaptation

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Date
2013
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"The implementation of adaptation policies suffers from barriers and limits; even though adaptation is now set on the political agendas of developed and developing countries, surprisingly few examples of concrete policy realizations are found in comparative assessments. We investigate how the framings of adaptation as a policy problem can relate to tractability issues in implementation. We distinguish three framings of adaptation: climate change adaptation (CCA), climate variability adaptation (CVA), and vulnerability-centered adaptation (VCA) that imply conflicting interpretations of the collective problem to be solved and the goals to be attained through policy solutions. Through the methodology of comparative case studies, we conduct an empirical analysis of three implementation processes in India and Switzerland, and examine how adaptation framings translate into formal policy design and concrete policy realizations. We find that, regardless of the adaptive capacity of the country where implementation takes place, the CCA framing meets more tractability issues than the VCA framing. Therefore, we discuss the paradox that the innovative and additional CCA types of policies, advocated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), are more likely to face a deficit in implementation according to our analysis."
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adaptation, climate change, implementation, public policy, political science
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