chapter  7
15 Pages

Uncertainty and precariousness at the policy–science interface

Three cases of climate-driven adaptation
WithMaria Carmen Lemos, Nicole Klenk

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This chapter examines the affective dimension of climate change adaptation decision-making. Using three case studies, the authors describe different experiences of precariousness and argue that this emotion helps explain scientist and decision-makers (in)actions at the science–policy interface. The first case looks at water management decision-making in Brazil and involves technocrats, local stakeholders, and public officials in water governance in the state of Ceará, in Northeast Brazil. It examines the dilemmas of participatory and integrated water management in the context of scarcity and the ability to predict future climate. The second case shows how local decision-makers, such as planners, are developing and implementing adaptation plans in the absence of leadership and support from state and federal levels. In the third case, the focus is on how the adaptation science–policy interface generates new forms of vulnerability in coastal communities in New Brunswick, Canada. The authors illustrate the complexities of decision-making at the science–policy interface under conditions where different actors are operating under different types of uncertainty that can leave them more of less vulnerable. Using the concept of precariousness may serve to gain a better understanding of how uncertainty is lived and managed in both science and decision-making.