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Explaining and overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation

Abstract

The concept of barriers is increasingly used to describe the obstacles that hinder the planning and implementation of climate change adaptation. The growing literature on barriers to adaptation reveals not only commonly reported barriers, but also conflicting evidence, and few explanations of why barriers exist and change. There is thus a need for research that focuses on the interdependencies between barriers and considers the dynamic ways in which barriers develop and persist. Such research, which would be actor-centred and comparative, would help to explain barriers to adaptation and provide insights into how to overcome them.

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Figure 1: Example of dynamically interlinked barriers.

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Acknowledgements

Parts of this paper are work of the Chameleon Research Group (www.climate-chameleon.de), funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research under grant 01UU0910. Further parts have been supported by the Norden Top-level Research Initiative sub-programme 'Effect Studies and Adaptation to Climate Change' through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR). We thank M. Steinhäuser for his support in coding of case studies, and all participants of the International Research Workshop on the Barriers to Adaptation to Climate Change.

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All authors contributed to the intellectual content. K.E., S.M. and C.O. conducted systematic literature reviews. A.P., K.E., E.H. and M.R. planned the project. All authors contributed references to the review. K.E. led the drafting of the text, with main contributions from S.M. All authors reviewed and edited the text.

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Correspondence to Klaus Eisenack.

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Eisenack, K., Moser, S., Hoffmann, E. et al. Explaining and overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation. Nature Clim Change 4, 867–872 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2350

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