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WIREs Clim Change
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Responsibility for meeting the costs of adaptation

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Abstract Climate change is no longer a distant possibility. Potentially harmful climatic changes are already underway. If we want to or believe we ought to minimize the harmfulness of eventual climate impacts it will therefore be necessary for us to adapt to our changing climate. As people will be differentially affected by climate impacts depending on when, where, and in what circumstances they live, adaptive measures will have to vary with context. It turns out that those least causally responsible for climate change are predicted to suffer the most from climate impacts. As these are disproportionally the world's poor and their vulnerability is partly due to their poverty, adaptation will often intersect with development. Determining who should be held responsible for meeting the costs of adaptation, the topic of this review, is therefore a difficult task. After reviewing the relevant literature, this review identifies the need for further work on the conceptual and practical issues that arise when thinking about the ethics of adaptation. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 687–700 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.132 This article is categorized under: Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Ethics and Climate Change

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