maandag 7 februari 2011

Climatopolis and the European Commission's climate change adaptation strategy

I have just taken a look at the European Commission's white paper on climate change adaptation.  Comparing this document with Matthew Kahn's Climatopolis (see one of my previous blogs for a detailed discussion of this book) reveals some interesting points.

First of all, cities are central in Kahn's book, and their resilience is an important source of optimism. In the Commission's view, cities are part of the areas that are especially vulnerable - the impact assessment points specifically to the "urban heat island" effect that will exacerbate the effects of heat waves in urban areas, and to the need for building infrastructure (such as green roofs) that can mitigate this effect.

Second, in Kahn's book, migration is, alongside technological innovation, the main instrument for adaptation. In the Commission's assessment, when migration is mentioned, it is alongside issues such as state failure, social cohesion and security.

Third, Kahn puts a lot of faith in society's spontaneous capacity for adaptation. The Commission does not assume that solutions will emerge and proposes an integrated strategy for adaptation.

These three observations have a clear pattern: where Kahn sees solutions, the Commission sees problems that need to be addressed. Some people may prefer the almost boyish enthusiasm that can be found in Climatopolis. However, the Commission's white paper is not just doom and gloom: it analyses the problem, and then proposes an action plan.

Of course, some will argue that climate change adaptation is just a new excuse for interventionist policies that will affect individual freedoms at high costs and with no clear environmental benefit. As I cannot venture into discussions of individual policies without incurring the risk of future conflicts of interest, I will just point out that one of the recommended actions is further trade liberalization - hardly a communist agenda point!

I intend to come back to the issues of migration (both of humans and of other species) in future posts.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Thank you for your effort and insight. I am releasing EcoCommerce 101: Adding an ecological dimension to the economy, this week. Would you be interested in reviewing a copy?

  2. I would always be interested in receiving a copy, but I cannot commit this book falls within a field in which I feel competent!