What does successful adaptation look like? This is a question we are frequently asked by planners, policy makers and other professionals charged with the task of developing and implementing adaptation strategies. While adaptation is increasingly recognized as an important climate risk management strategy, and on-the-ground adaptation planning activity is becoming more common-place, there is no clear guidance as to what success would look like, what to aim for and how to judge progress.

This edited volume makes significant progress toward unpacking the question of successful adaptation, offering both scientifically informed and practice-relevant answers from various sectors and regions of the world. It brings together 18 chapters from leading experts within the field to present careful analyses of different cases and situations, questioning throughout commonly avowed truisms and unspoken assumptions that have pervaded climate adaptation science and practice to date. This book offers not one answer but demonstrates how the question of success in important ways is normative and context specific. It identifies the various dimensions of success, such as economic, political, institutional, ecological, and social, explores the tensions between them, and compiles encouraging evidence that resolutions can be found. The book appraises how climatic and non-climatic stressors play a role, what role science does and can play in adaptation decision making, and how trade-offs and other concerns and priorities shape adaptation planning and implementation on the ground.

This is timely interdisciplinary text sheds light on key issues that arise in on-the-ground adaptation to climate change. It bridges the gap between science and practical application of successful adaptation strategies and will be of interest to both students, academics and practitioners.

chapter |33 pages

Climate change and adaptation success

The scope of the challenge
BySusanne C. Moser, Maxwell T. Boykoff

part |60 pages

Changing goals, trade-offs, and synergies

chapter |13 pages

Reducing the risk of maladaptation in response to sea-level rise and urban water scarcity

ByJon Barnett, Saffron O’Neill, Steve Waller, Sarah Rogers

chapter |17 pages

Biodiversity conservation for a climate-altered future

ByBruce A. Stein, M. Rebecca Shaw

chapter |14 pages

Climate adaptation, moral reparation, and the baseline problem

ByBenjamin Hale, Adam Pérou Hermans, Alexander Lee

chapter |14 pages

Redd+ and social justice

Adaptation by way of mitigation?
ByHeike Schroeder, Chukwumerije Okereke

part |54 pages

Institutional arrangements, interplay, and alignment

chapter |17 pages

Institutions as key element to successful climate adaptation processes

Results from the San Francisco Bay Area
ByJulia A. Ekstrom, Susanne C. Moser

chapter |18 pages

Rapid transformation of the US electric power system

Prospects and impediments
ByRoger E. Kasperson, Bonnie Ram

chapter |17 pages

Towards a binding adaptation regime

Three levers and two instruments
ByMizan R. Khan, J. Timmons Roberts

part |86 pages

Science–practice interactions, decision support, and supporting norms

chapter |19 pages

Water, seas, and wine

Science for successful climate adaptaion
ByBenjamin L. Preston, Lauren Rickards, Suraje Dessai, Ryan Meyer

chapter |16 pages

Promoting adaptation success in natural resource management through decision support

Lessons from the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions
ByLisa Dilling, Rebecca Romsdahl

chapter |15 pages

Climate risk management

Laying the groundwork for successful adaptation
ByAnthony Patt

chapter |19 pages

Building climate resilience

Lessons of early warning in Africa
ByEmily Boyd, Rosalind J. Cornforth

part |52 pages

Effective communication and engagement

chapter |16 pages

Media coverage of discourse on adaptation

Competing visions of “success” in the Indian context
ByMaxwell T. Boykoff, Aditya Ghosh, Kanmani Venkateswaran

chapter |17 pages

Risk communication and adaptation in settlements on the coast and in deltas of the Mekong Region

ByLouis Lebel, Bach Tan Sinh, Ngo Cong Chinh, Sakaradhorn Boontaveeyuwat, Ham Kimkong

chapter |17 pages

Climate change visioning

Effective processes for advancing the policy and practice of local adaptation
BySarah L. M. Burch, Stephen R. J. Sheppard, Ellen Pond, Olaf Schroth

part |33 pages

Motivations, identities, reflexivity, and personal change

chapter |17 pages

Navigating the political and emotional terrain of adaptation

Community engagement when climate change comes home
BySusanne C. Moser

chapter |14 pages

The courage to change

Adaptation from the inside-out
ByKaren O'Brien