School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Research Publications

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    Nature-based solutions for atoll habitability
    Barnett, J ; Jarillo, S ; Swearer, SE ; Lovelock, CE ; Pomeroy, A ; Konlechner, T ; Waters, E ; Morris, RL ; Lowe, R (ROYAL SOC, 2022-07-04)
    Atoll societies have adapted their environments and social systems for thousands of years, but the rapid pace of climate change may bring conditions that exceed their adaptive capacities. There is growing interest in the use of 'nature-based solutions' to facilitate the continuation of dignified and meaningful lives on atolls through a changing climate. However, there remains insufficient evidence to conclude that these can make a significant contribution to adaptation on atolls, let alone to develop standards and guidelines for their implementation. A sustained programme of research to clarify the potential of nature-based solutions to support the habitability of atolls is therefore vital. In this paper, we provide a prospectus to guide this research programme: we explain the challenge climate change poses to atoll societies, discuss past and potential future applications of nature-based solutions and outline an agenda for transdisciplinary research to advance knowledge of the efficacy and feasibility of nature-based solutions to sustain the habitability of atolls. This article is part of the theme issue 'Nurturing resilient marine ecosystems'.
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    Three ways social identity shapes climate change adaptation
    Barnett, J ; Graham, S ; Quinn, T ; Adger, WN ; Butler, C (IOP Publishing Ltd, 2021-12-01)
    Adaptation to climate change is inescapably influenced by processes of social identity-how people perceive themselves, others, and their place in the world around them. Yet there is sparse evidence into the specific ways in which identity processes shape adaptation planning and responses. This paper proposes three key ways to understand the relationship between identity formation and adaptation processes: (a) how social identities change in response to perceived climate change risks and threats; (b) how identity change may be an objective of adaptation; and (c) how identity issues can constrain or enable adaptive action. It examines these three areas of focus through a synthesis of evidence on community responses to flooding and subsequent policy responses in Somerset county, UK and the Gippsland East region in Australia, based on indepth longitudinal data collected among those experiencing and enacting adaptation. The results show that adaptation policies are more likely to be effective when they give individuals confidence in the continuity of their in-groups, enhance the self-esteem of these groups, and develop their sense of self-efficacy. These processes of identity formation and evolution are therefore central to individual and collective responses to climate risks.
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    Climate change and loss, as if people mattered: values, places, and experiences
    Tschakert, P ; Barnett, J ; Ellis, N ; Lawrence, C ; Tuana, N ; New, M ; Elrick-Barr, C ; Pandit, R ; Pannell, D (Wiley, 2017-09-01)
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is seeking to prepare for losses arising from climate change. This is an emerging issue that challenges climate science and policy to engage more deeply with values, places, and people's experiences. We first provide insight into the UNFCCC framing of loss and damage and current approaches to valuation. We then draw on the growing literature on value‐ and place‐based approaches to adaptation, including limits to adaptation, which examines loss as nuanced and sensitive to the nature of people's lives. Complementary perspectives from human geography, psychology, philosophy, economics, and ecology underscore the importance of understanding what matters to people and what they may likely consider to constitute loss. A significant body of knowledge illustrates that loss is often given meaning through lived, embodied, and place‐based experiences, and so is more felt than tangible. We end with insights into recent scholarship that addresses how people make trade‐offs between different value priorities. This emerging literature offers an opening in the academic debate to further advance a relational framing of loss in which trade‐offs between lived values are seen as dynamic elements in a prospective loss space. WIREs Clim Change 2017, 8:e476. doi: 10.1002/wcc.476
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    Adaptive capacity: exploring the research frontier
    Mortreux, C ; Barnett, J (Wiley, 2017-07-01)
    In the past 15 years there has been rapid growth in research on adaptive capacity. This article critically reviews this literature, describing changes in the field over time, and highlighting the new frontiers in research. It explains how research on adaptive capacity began and remains heavily influenced by a one‐size‐fits‐all assets‐based theory that assumes that adaptation action is commensurate with the possession of capitals. It explains how this theory has been unable to explain how adaptation is actually practiced across diverse contexts and scales. The article then highlights new research, particularly that which extends analysis to include psycho‐social and institutional dimensions applied at smaller scales of analysis. This shift recognizes and helps overcome the limits of traditional approaches to adaptive capacity, but the field still lacks theories that can explain the relationship between adaptive capacity and adaptation outcomes. Drawing on findings from disaster risk reduction and behavioral science literatures, this article outlines a framework comprised of six factors that better explain how capacity is translated and mobilized into action, namely: risk attitudes, personal experience, trust in and expectations of authorities, place attachment, competing concerns, and household composition and dynamics.
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    Assembling water
    Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018-11-30)
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    Water Supply in a Mega-City A Political Ecology Analysis of Shanghai: Preface
    Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018-11-30)
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    Why don't people drink Shanghai's tap water?
    Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018-11-30)
    Chapter 9 reinforces the central messages of this book. The Changjiang, government institutions, infrastructures and ordinary people comprise an assemblage of interacting actors. The river is a central actor that depends on inputs from the precipitation system, perhaps modified by land uses, dams, extractions and pollution. The river’s interactions with the tidal system produce a propensity to salt intrusions that can interrupt Shanghai’s water supply. Whether or not people drink this water depends on the cleanliness of the water but more on their willingness to trust the government bureaucracies to supply clean water. In other words, technical choices about forms of infrastructure and water management not only have political bases but also have political consequences. An important consequence of this conclusion is that policy models have different effects in different places: the management of water expresses hydrologic processes, and social–political–economic structures.
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    Would you ever drink the water?
    Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018-11-30)
    This chapter brings together the physical hydrology of the river catchment and the estuary, population growth and water demand, management of wastewater and polluting behaviours, people’s trust in the government, and the styles of government decision-making to model the possible futures for Shanghai’s water supply using a Bayesian Belief Network. Three scenarios, each with two variants, are modelled: high growth rate with an authoritarian socio-political order; slower growth, authoritarian and inflexible; slower growth, flexible, participatory and pluralist. The variants are environmental states: (a) the environment imposes increasing challenges; (b) the environment is relatively benign. This model combines quantitative forecasting techniques with a qualitative understanding of broader structural changes. The results indicate that lower growth leads to a greater quantity of water in the Changjiang and that more inclusive forms of governance have additional benefits for water quality, water quantity and trust in the water that is delivered.
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    The risks of salt intrusions
    Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Finlayson, B ; Wang, M (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018-11-30)
    Chapter 6 examines in detail the effects of the interaction of river and infrastructures on the quality of water in Shanghai. The specific risk analysed is that of salt intrusions into the estuary of the Changjiang, through which the water at Shanghai’s intake points becomes more saline than can be made potable in the water treatment plants. The chapter calculates the historical risks of salt intrusions severe enough to threaten Shanghai’s water supply and then examines how the constructions and operation of the Three Gorges Dam and the South–North Water Transfer Project are modifying those risks. Depending on the operating rules of these infrastructures, the risk of an intrusion that could disrupt Shanghai’s water supply has been more than doubled by these constructions.