Image by Neil Adger

Urban settlements subject to impacts of global climate change seek resilient solutions.

Sub themes

Transforming Society and Environment

The coming years and decades are critical for realising how economic activity will change as limits in resource availability and changes in earth systems become apparent.

Research from the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities, the first if its kind in the UK, is contributing to contemporary thinking about environment and sustainability by contextualising the terms of environmental debate and ecological citizenship and framing them as part of a historical narrative. The Centre is led by Dr Caitlin DeSilvey and Dr Nicola Whyte.

Dr Duncan Russel, Dr Tim Taylor and colleagues from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health are analysing which policies and strategies Europe will use to adapt to a changing climate.

Individual Action, Collective Consequences

Many environmental dilemmas are assumed to result from the distance between actions and consequences. This sub-theme explores ethical, social and psychological dimensions of these environmental problems, and invites discussion on reconciling consumption, environmental values, and the means by which individual behaviour could be transformed.

The Energy Policy Group looks at energy choices and future pathways. It has contributed to the Global Energy Assessment and to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on renewable energy, as well as commenting and researching on UK energy policy. The group's blog and IGov projects explain current energy governance dilemmas.

Demographic Insights into Environmental Change

This sub theme examines the role of migration in managing environmental risks; legal and political dimensions of international migration; and the links between ecosystem services and migration and mobility.

Exeter social scientists are researching the benefits of the natural environment for human wellbeing with work examining ecosystem services that focus on the delta regions in Asia and coastal regions in Africa.

Research has shown that the cultural dimensions of climate change are underestimated and misunderstood. Findings revealed that scientists and policy makers do not give enough consideration to what really matters to communities and individuals when formulating programmes to deal with climate change.

Resilience, Adaptation and Risk

This sub theme looks at environmental risks, how they are constructed in society, and models of decision-making, building on links through the Resilience Alliance and ongoing research.

Research by Prof Neil Adger on flood risk and how political systems adjust to it has received the runner up prize in the Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize 2013 competition in the Geopolitical and Societal Risk category.

The prize was awarded to Neil’s working looking at the November 2009 floods in the UK and Ireland to examine the role of social contracts in adjusting to risks. The paper showed that adaptation to climate change is likely to occur in reaction to major events, and that the performance of governments in terms of fairness of response shapes how much individuals are willing to take responsibility for flood risks themselves.