A values-based approach to vulnerability and adaptation to climate change

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Abstract

Values play a significant role in climate change debates. To date, however, the use of the term values has been narrowly focused on monetary worth, relative worth, or fair return on exchanges. This article argues that another, broader interpretation of values, one concentrating on intrinsically desirable principles or qualities is needed to understand and respond to climate change. How to respond to climate change impacts depends importantly on what the effects of climate change mean to those affected. Similarly, what is considered as effective and legitimate adaptation depends on what people perceive to be worth preserving and achieving. How to adapt to climate change therefore hinges on the values underlying people's perspectives on what the goals of adaptation should be. This article examines what a values-based approach is, why it is needed, and what its benefits for understanding adaptation are. The implications for research and policy are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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