Ignorance and Resilience in Local Adaptation to Climate Change – Inconsistencies between Theory-Driven Recommendations and Empirical Findings in the Case of the 2002 Elbe Flood Nichtwissen und Resilienz in der lokalen Klimaanpassung – Widersprüche zwischen theoriegeleiteten Handlungsempfehlungen und empirischen Befunden am Beispiel des Sommerhochwassers 2002
This paper identifies a central challenge relating to the adaptation to climate change on the local level: how to deal with the unknown and how to create a resilient environment. Although a consensus exists that our climate will change to a hitherto unknown extent, the anticipation of local and regional consequences has reached its limits. The primary reason for this is the unknown interference of social development and natural processes. This paper suggests a practical typology of (non-)knowledge and distinguishes between two main strategies of how to deal with unknown developments: anticipation and resilience. In a case study on the extreme Elbe flood in 2002, local adaptation strategies and lessons learned are investigated against the background of the previously introduced concepts of the unknown and adaptation strategies. The empirical findings show a gap between the local activities during and after the flood event and the scientific concepts of resilient adaptation strategies. Local actions mainly rely on anticipation and strong expectations. Resilient features are hard to detect and mostly come into conflict with the realized local adaptation strategy.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2009
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