Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Thursday 9 July - 15:00-16:30 UPMC Jussieu - ROOM 101 - Block 24/34

3324 - Paradigms for Building Resilience from Cross-scale Integrated Risk Governance Perspectives

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): E. Boyd (University of Reading / Stockholm Resilience Centre, Reading, United Kingdom)

Convener(s): Q. Ye (Integrated Risk Governance Project, Beijing, China)

15:00

Risk Culture: Implications for Risk Governance

O. Renn (University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany), E. Boyd (University of Reading / Stockholm Resilience Centre, Reading, United Kingdom)

Abstract details
Risk Culture: Implications for Risk Governance

O. Renn (1) ; E. Boyd (2)
(1) University of Stuttgart, The economic and social sciences, Stuttgart, Germany; (2) University of Reading / Stockholm Resilience Centre, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Reading, United Kingdom

Abstract content

Deciding about the location of hazardous facilities, setting standards for chemicals, making decisions about clean-ups of contaminated land, regulating food and drugs, as well as designing and enforcing safety limits all have one element in common: these activities are collective endeavours to understand, assess and handle risks to human health and the environment. These attempts are based on two requirements. On the one hand, risk managers need sufficient knowledge about the potential impacts of the risk sources under investigation and the likely consequences of the different decision options to control these risks. On the other hand, they need criteria to judge the desirability or undesirability of these consequences for the people affected and the public at large. This second part is an integral aspect of risk culture, understood as the systems of norms, vales and visions that an organization shares among its members Within the portfolio of organizational culture, criteria on desirability are reflections of social values such as good health, equity, or efficient use of scarce resources. Both components – knowledge and values – are necessary for any decision-making process independent of the issue and the problem context.

Anticipating consequences of human actions or events (knowledge) and evaluating the desirability and moral quality of these consequences (values) pose particular problems if the consequences are complex and uncertain and the values contested and controversial. Dealing with complex, uncertain and ambiguous outcomes often leads to the emergence of social conflict. This is particularly the case for emerging technologies where the risks are not yet known. Although everyone may agree on the overall goal of safety and environmental quality, precisely what that goal entails (how safe is safe enough?) and precisely how that goal will be obtained may evoke substantial disagreement. Major issues in this context are: what are the most suitable criteria for judging risks? Hoe can an organizational culture cope with uncertain outcomes and how can it develop an effective monitoring system. How should an organization manage risks that benefit one party at the expense of potential harm to another?

These crucial questions of how to deal with complex, uncertain and controversial risks demand procedures of decision-making that go beyond the conventional risk management routines. Numerous strategies to cope with this challenge have evolved over time. They include technocratic decision-making through the explicit involvement of technical experts, institutional arrangements for foresight and monitoring, direct stakeholder involvement, and external reviews. The main argument of the paper is that public and private institutions that assess and manage risks are in urgent need of revising their institutional routines and of designing procedures that enable them to integrate professional assessments (systematic knowledge), adequate institutional process (organizational culture), responsible handling of public resources (efficiency) and stakeholder knowledge and perceptions (reflection on public values and preferences). These various inputs require the inclusion of multiple procedures and the involvement of several actors in the risk assessment and risk management process. The structures that evolve from the cooperation of various actors in all phases of the risk handling process are subsumed under the term risk governance . Governing choices in modern societies is seen as interplay between governmental institutions, economic forces and civil society actors, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). ‘Risk governance’ involves the ‘translation’ of the substance and core principles of governance to the context of risk and risk-related decision-making. It includes, but also extends beyond, the three conventionally recognized elements of risk analysis (risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication). It requires consideration of the legal, institutional, social and economic contexts in which a risk is evaluated, and involvement of the actors and stakeholders who represent them. Risk governance looks at the complex web rules, conventions, processes, and mechanisms concerned with how relevant risk information is collected, analysed and communicated, and how management decisions are taken.  Such an approach links risk governance with risk culture.

15:10

Disasters and Green Growth: An Exercise in Complexity

C. Jaeger (Global Climate forum, Berlin, Germany)

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Disasters and Green Growth: An Exercise in Complexity

C. Jaeger (1)
(1) Global Climate Forum, Berlin, Germany

Abstract content

It is by now common knowledge that air pollution is a huge disaster in Beijing as in other megacities of the present. It is less known that a century ago air pollution was at least as disastrous in Chicago and other large cities of those times. While efforts to reduce those historical pollution disasters started already in the 19th century, they became really successful only when economic growth had made far-reaching pollution control affordable. This option of “pollute first, clean-up later” is not open to countries like contemporary China. They need to switch to a path of green growth. This goal cannot be reached by simple top-down strategies. Rather, an approach fostering synergies between problem solving strategies by a myriad of actors is needed. Such an approach can be developed, but it requires a new view of the complex relations between economic growth and disaster management.

15:20

World Regionalization of Climate Change?1961–2010?

P. Shi (Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China), Q. Ye (Integrated Risk Governance Project, Beijing, China)

Abstract details
World Regionalization of Climate Change?1961–2010?

P. Shi (1) ; Q. Ye (2)
(1) Beijing Normal University, State key lab for earth surface processes and resource ecology, Beijing, China; (2) Integrated Risk Governance Project, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Abstract content

Existing climate regionalization aims to characterize the regional differences in climate based on years of the mean value of different climate indexes. However, with the accelerating climate change nowadays, existing climate regionalization cannot represent the regional difference of climate change, nor can it reflect the disasters and environmental risks incurred from climate changes. This paper utilizes the tendency value and fluctuation value of temperature and precipitation from 1961 to 2010 to identify the climate change quantitatively, and completes world regionalization of climate change (1961–2010) with state (province) administrative regionalization as the unit in combination with world's terrain feature. Level-I regionalization divides world's climate change (1961–2010) into thirteen tendency zones based on the tendency of temperature and precipitation; level-II regionalization refers to twenty-nine fluctuation regions based on level-I regionalization according to the fluctuation of temperature and precipitation.

15:30

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S. Van Der Leeuw (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, United States of America)

Abstract details
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S. Van Der Leeuw (chool of Human Evolution and Social Change and School of Sustainability, 800 S. Cady Mall P.O. Box 875402 Tempe AZ 85287-5402, United States of America)

Abstract content
15:40

Everyday disasters, adaptation governance & resilience frameworks

A. Ghosh (University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany)

Abstract details
Everyday disasters, adaptation governance & resilience frameworks

A. Ghosh (1) ; E. Boyd (2)
(1) University of Heidelberg, South asia institute, Heidelberg, Germany; (2) University of Reading / Stockholm Resilience Centre, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Reading, United Kingdom

Abstract content

This paper introduces the concept and consequences of ‘everyday disasters’ – when regular oceanic processes such as tidal bores and high tides become more intense and catastrophic, destroying lives of those who live in low-lying coastal areas with striking regularity under the influence of climate change, sea level rise, coastline erosion and land subsidence. In the Indian Sundarbans, world’s largest mangrove ecosystem situated at the mouth Bay of Bengal and a part of world’s largest delta, these ‘daily’ weather hazards are egregiously affecting the socio-ecological system, leading to human crises of unprecedented proportions. Not classified and defined as ‘disasters’ and thus unattended by local, national and international disaster management authorities, these events engender a socioeconomic challenge to structured adaptive governance which is yet to be studied formally or understood.

Majority of the indicators of global warming are already higher than global averages in Sundarbans. Eventual outcomes in terms of actual environmental shifts as a product of complex interactions between anthropogenic and climate changes in this socio-ecological system are making the challenge of climate change adaptation further complex, along with increased intensity and frequency of cyclones, typhoons, flash floods, which have, however, received considerable attention from disaster risk reduction scholars.

On July 12, 13 and 14, 2014, a regular oceanic phenomenon of a tidal bore devastated island villages across Indian Sundarbans, destroyed human settlements, infrastructure, dwellings and displaced about 100,000 people, forcing them into near starvation for over three months. It also destroyed prospects of agriculture and aquaculture for an indefinite future. Using snowball sampling, extensive qualitative interviews, photographic and audio-visual evidence were collected from five of the affected villages between July and September 2014. The findings reveal narrow and limited framing of disasters and a disparate adaptation discourse that have failed to internalise these events. Through grounded narratives and evidences, this paper elaborate how threats from environment (climate change) domain were extending to social ones, exacerbating the existing crisis in the socio-ecological systems; underscoring specific needs for governance processes and systems to target newly emerging socio-environment risks. The analysis also underscores epistemological weaknesses of existing resilience frameworks that are unable to address changing nature of vulnerabilities to livelihoods and human security. Also, imprint of the event on the adjoining areas, especially towns and cities in the region because of large human migration, argues for reconfiguring development paradigms in wake of altering environmental realities.

Thus, this work addresses two of the biggest gaps in resilience geography about how smaller, daily disasters were aggravating environment shifts and how they were jeopardising livelihoods, threatening human security and posing an unforeseen challenge to development in the South.