Adapting to Climate Change: Why Adaptation Policy is More Difficult than We Think

TitleAdapting to Climate Change: Why Adaptation Policy is More Difficult than We Think
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWalker, William D., Liebl David S., Gilbert Lewis E., LaGro James, Nowak Pete, Sullivan John, and Group Wisconsin Initiative
Series TitleWisconsin’s Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation
Date Published10/2010
InstitutionWisconsin Institute for Climate Change Impacts
CityMadison, Wisconsin
TypeWorking Group Report
Keywordsadaptation, climate change, infrastructure, Wildlife

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) exists to help policy-makers, resource managers, and others lead Wisconsin’s adaptation to climate change. Chapters in the main report examine the impacts of climate change on wildlife, infrastructure, and other parts of the human and natural worlds. Those chapters also suggest adaptation strategies specific to each chapter’s topic. This paper, on the other hand, explores the nature of climate change adaptation itself. The goal of this paper is to make readers aware of three fundamental problems with climate change adaptation. Those problems limit what society will be able to achieve through adaptation, but they also suggest important ways to focus adaptation efforts. This paper is an overview and synthesis of the adaptation literature. Our goal is to identify important issues in adaptation, both to alert policy-makers to their importance and to encourage researchers to explore them.