Costing Adaptation: Revealing Tensions in the Normative Basis of Adaptation Policy in Adaptation Cost Estimates

TitleCosting Adaptation: Revealing Tensions in the Normative Basis of Adaptation Policy in Adaptation Cost Estimates
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMoore, FC
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Volume37
Issue2
Pagination171-198
Date PublishedMarch 1, 2012
Publication Languageeng
AbstractAdaptation to the impacts of climate change is a rapidly emerging, new area of knowledge and policy that is coevolving with political negotiations in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As such, it offers the opportunity to study the coproduction of knowledge and social order within the climate change regime. A subset of adaptation knowledge relates to cost estimates of adaptation policy. Here the methodology of the adaptation cost studies are reviewed and compared to economic theory. Although presented as technical and apolitical applications of economic theory, this analysis shows that these studies in fact differ significantly and consistently from theory in that they largely ignore autonomous adaptation and almost universally cost complete adaptation rather than an efficient level of adaptation. It is suggested that these differences are related to the political nature of adaptation cost estimates, which are closely connected with normative claims for both adaptation funding for developing countries and compensation for the unavoidable climate change impacts. As such, adaptation cost estimates are an example of boundary objects, used to manage normative and highly politicized claims for restitution using scientific and therefore apolitical language and framings.
URLhttp://sth.sagepub.com/content/37/2/171.abstract
DOI10.1177/0162243911402364

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