This chapter introduces the reader to the core research endeavor of the book. It presents the main concepts and the guiding research question: Why does governmental incrementalism persist despite high uneven vulnerability to climate change? The empirical approach is presented, and with it two cities in China and the United States, that have taken only little adaptation efforts in this regard. The rationale for the case studies is a comparison of two political systems that are both being heavily impacted by climate change and supposed to have very different capacity in dealing with the related challenges. It introduces the idea of lock-ins, a set of interdependent factors, which maintain, recreate and deteriorate inequal vulnerability to climate change. Lock-ins are used as an analytical tool for understanding governmental incrementalism to act in more systematic and effective ways. They are conceptualized in a political ecology lens. Underlying factors such as power impact the inequitable distribution of climate impacts and significantly render the parameters within which adaptation occurs. Thereby, the chapter juxtapositions current research on climate policy with the political ecology perspective. The latter provides critical insights on governmentality and adaptation as self-evident concepts. An argument is made for vulnerability as a relational concept and embodied experience.