The co-benefits approach
In its Report entitled “Background for a Framework of Ethical Principles and Responsibilities for Climate Change Adaptation” (2013), COMEST discussed long term proposals to the problems entailed by climate change adaptation in terms of a “co-benefits approach”.
Co-benefits mean that there are indirect long term solutions to addressing climate change adaptation that entail other social development processes such as public health, social inclusion, and higher levels of education or awareness raising.
Public health, for example, is relevant to climate change because of the new strains of diseases that emerge or mutate at higher temperatures. Social inclusion, the new term for poverty reduction, can improve living and housing conditions that are adaptable to climate change. Higher levels of education and awareness raising can lead to appropriate technologies and designs that suit new weather and climatic conditions.
Even political cultures such as openness to critical discourses instead of the monological regimes of dictatorships can lead to more comprehensive solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Those who are most affected, afterall, have a better grasp of their own living conditions and are more aware of feasible solutions that can address the particularities of their problems.
The burden of addressing climate change problems, therefore, can be shared at the local, national and global levels by attending to multiple social concerns that could make vulnerable societies more robust or resilient in the face of climate change.
Questions for discussion:
Are there other sectors or institutions in your society that can be improved to help your community address the problems induced by climate change?
Are there institutions or aspects of your society that aggravate the problems generated by climate change?
How can these aggravating conditions be addressed?
© COMEST, “Background for an Ethical Framework of Principles and Responsibilities for Climate Change Adaptation” (2013)