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Linking Disasters and Climate Change 
Ilan Kelman (UCL and UiA)
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Climate Change
Friday 18 September, 15:00-16:30

Short Abstract:

For decades, anthropology and geography have contributed separately to disaster and climate change research, notably to prevent adverse impacts. Based on this work, this session links the disciplines to show how climate change adaptation might be best suited as a subset of disaster risk reduction.

Long Abstract

Both disaster research and climate change research from both anthropology and geography provide many theories, practical experiences, and approaches which are not often fully incorporated into the other discipline or topic. Given the basis of disaster risk being a combination of hazard and vulnerability (including exposure) with climate change substantially influencing some hazards, anthropology and geography in tandem provide recommendations about how to better connect disaster-related and climate change related work--and then with development.

This session seeks submissions on how the combination of anthropology and geography can and should contribute to linking disaster and climate change work. In principle, starting from basic definitions, climate change adaptation would be best suited as a subset of disaster risk reduction. In practice, this theoretical construct might or might not be sufficient to bring people and disciplines together, especially within current institutional structures. Other related topics, such as climate change mitigation and disaster response and recovery, also need to be incorporated through anthropology and geography joining forces, all placed within wider development and sustainability contexts.

For instance, although the theory of 'disaster risk reduction including climate change adaptation' is now well-established and published, theoretical challenges to this notion would be welcome. This session also solicits case studies--historical, ongoing, or proposed--demonstrating how much could be gained or lost by placing climate change adaptation within disaster risk reduction. One key is to ensure that emphasising climate change would not subsume the importance of anthropology and geography together explaining that vulnerabilities cause disasters.

Accepted papers: