As the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, there has never been a more pertinent time to understand the barriers preventing adaptation implementation. The authors believe that, rather than resulting from lack of adaptive capacity, such barriers stem most predominantly from the human elements of adaptation governance. In order to understand these barriers, the authors ground adaptation planning through an interdisciplinary understanding of governance and risk perception. By exploring actor perceptions of risk and responsibility at a local-level (via regional districts in Canada) they provide insight into enabling and constraining factors to collective action on climate change. This work highlights how subjective perceptions and the cognitive strategies used to maintain them, such as denial and discretion, can have drastic implications for adaptation planning and implementation.

The journal article can be found here.

Full citation:

Birchall, SJ, Kehler, S. (2023). Denial and discretion as a governance process: How actor perceptions of risk and responsibility hinder adaptation to climate change. Environmental Science and Policy.