Adapt Lock-in Project Presentations Outputs

Webinar on ‘Explaining the Adaptation Gap in the UK’

On May 25th 2022, Adapt Lock-in project researchers Meghan Alexander and Tim Rayner (University of East Anglia) gave a presentation ‘Explaining the adaptation gap in the UK – the hidden story of policy lock-ins’, under the auspices of the UK Climate Resilience Programme Webinar Series 2021-2022,

Noting how the continuing and commonly observed ‘adaptation gap’ may be symptomatic of hidden path dependencies and self-reinforcing ‘lock-in’ dynamics that work to preserve current systems, the presentation sought to show how uncovering of these hidden dynamics is vital to the ‘unlocking’ of opportunities for change that can accelerate adaptation action.

Focusing on England, the presentation examined the often interacting political, institutional, behavioral and infrastructural forces that create and maintain lock-in dynamics in a number of ‘problem domains’ – including coastal adaptation, water scarcity, biodiversity, forestry, heatwave adaptation and mental health under extreme events. Based on the project’s empirical research, some key lock-in dynamics currently hindering adaptation were described. The presentation demonstrated how, with the help of causal loop diagrams, distinct and overlapping lock-in dynamics operating within and between these problem areas can be visualised. In conclusion, reflections were offered on the implications for targeting interventions and designing ‘unlocking strategies’ to help close the adaptation gap.

A response was provided by Tom Handysides, at the time the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) government official leading on climate change adaptation and resilience policy development.

The webinar was recorded and is available HERE; alternatively, slides of the presentation are available HERE.

Variations on this presentation were subsequently given to DEFRA in September, and to the Independent group of the Local Government Association in October 2022

Adaptation and Change

Loss and Damage as a Third Pillar of Climate Action

On March 17th, Adapt Lock-in researcher Dr. Lisanne Groen (Open University of the Netherlands) acted as discussant at a webinar organised by the American University in Washington D.C. on ‘Loss and Damage as the Third Pillar of Climate Action’.

At the webinar, IPCC author Dr. Adelle Thomas from the University of the Bahamas & Climate Analytics shared with the online audience how loss and damage as a result of climate change has developed as a topic in the international climate change negotiations. This issue is being pushed by the Alliance Of Small Island States (AOSIS) in particular as well as developing countries as they struggle to put in place national-level policies on the topic.

Dr. Lisanne Groen brought in an academic perspective in her response to Dr. Thomas’ presentation, highlighting some lessons learnt from the Adapt Lock-in project on the Dutch approach to climate change adaptation, which focuses on infrastructure-based defence in response to sea level rise.

Kelly Crawford from the Washington D.C. Department of Energy & Environment added a policymaking perspective, highlighting some climate change policy initiatives she is currently working on.

The webinar recording is available HERE.

This was the third event from the webinar series “Ideas, Interests, Institutions, and Nation-state Climate Politics: Mitigators, Adapters, and Mitigator-Adapters.” This webinar charts the development of loss and damage policy within the UNFCCC and shows how slow progress at the international scale has resulted in limited – but critically needed – national policies focused on loss and damage, particularly in the Global South. Led by Adelle Thomas, Climate Analytics/University of The Bahamas. Discussants: Kelly Crawford, Assistant Director, Washington DC Department of Energy & Environment and Lisanne Groen, Open Universiteit, Department of Environmental Sciences and Institute for European Studies, Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels.