Online from: 2009
Subject Area: Environmental Management/Environment
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|Title:||Conceptual elements of climate change vulnerability assessments: a review|
|Author(s):||Marta Bruno Soares, (Environmental Initiatives Research Group, School of Science, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK), Alexandre S. Gagnon, (Environmental Initiatives Research Group, School of Science, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK), Ruth M. Doherty, (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)|
|Citation:||Marta Bruno Soares, Alexandre S. Gagnon, Ruth M. Doherty, (2012) "Conceptual elements of climate change vulnerability assessments: a review", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 4 Iss: 1, pp.6 - 35|
|Keywords:||Assessment frameworks, Climate change, Conceptual elements, Integrated vulnerability assessment, Risk assessment|
|Article type:||General review|
|DOI:||10.1108/17568691211200191 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors would like to thank the Scottish Alliance for Geosciences, Environment and Society for funding this research, also the Editor of the journal and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. The authors would also like to thank Dr Andy Inch for his comments on the paper.|
Purpose – The concept of vulnerability in climate change literature is underpinned by numerous theoretical contributions across different disciplines leading to disparate understandings of what climate change vulnerability entails, as well as different methodological frameworks for assessment. This multiplicity of contributions helped not only to frame and shape different understandings of vulnerability but also to define the conceptual and analytical elements considered as critical in any climate change vulnerability assessment. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on climate change vulnerability and explore and synthesize those conceptual and analytical aspects considered fundamental in a vulnerability assessment in climate change.
Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on existing literature on climate change vulnerability and vulnerability assessment frameworks, the paper provides a review of the conceptual elements regarded as critical in integrated assessments of climate change vulnerability to date.
Findings – A review of the existing literature identified nine critical elements in vulnerability assessments: the coupled human-environment system and place-based analysis; key components of vulnerability; multiple perturbations; scales of analysis; causal structures of vulnerability; engaging stakeholders; differential vulnerability; historical and prospective analysis; and dealing with uncertainty. The paper concludes by highlighting some of the remaining challenges and limitations for the development of integrated vulnerability assessment in climate change research.
Originality/value – The paper presents a synthesis that draws on existing literature on climate change vulnerability theory, as well as vulnerability assessment frameworks that attempt to apply those concepts in the assessment of climate change vulnerability.