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What can governments do?
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What can governments do?

This video gives an overview of how governments respond to climate change effects, and what type of issues they need to address.
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HELLEN DAWO: From the previous steps, we have seen that climate change generates an actual threat to various societal objectives. In this video, we look into the response to climate change by governments. There is scientific evidence that climate change is already happening. So even if greenhouse gas emissions would stop today, climate change would continue to affect future generations. Because of this, humanity is required to respond and adjust to some level of climate change for many years to come. The response to climate change takes two broad forms. One– reducing emissions and stabilising the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is called climate mitigation. Two– adapting to climate change that is already happening. This is called climate adaptation.
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In this course, we focus on climate adaptation and how this can be achieved. For example, there’s a city built on a location where there was a riverbed thousands of years ago. Whenever there is increased precipitation, the city now experiences periodic floods. This situation needs to be resolved. The actors charged with finding the solution are confronted with the following questions. One– responsibility. Is it the government, the private sector, or both? Who should take the lead? What approaches should be taken to resolve the situation? Short-term versus long-term approaches, policy design versus infrastructure development? And then also, who needs to be involved? And who is going to pay? And maybe, even more important, what is the problem?
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Is it shortcomings in planning, environmental threats, or economic risks? The problem looked simple when described. But as we tried to resolve it, many questions arise. Some of these questions can be addressed through governance. So then the question becomes, what is governance? Governance is a process that consists of two parts. A– the interaction between public and/or private entities. From our example of the city, this means that local business owners raise concerns to the local authority to resolve the flood issues. Who is responsible and who is going to pay are questions that will come up in these conversations. B– and these interactions aim at realisation of collective goals.
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Again from our case of the city, it has to do with protecting the city from floods. The example has an additional complexity. The floods in the city occur periodically. And they happen only when it rains heavily. Therefore, we are uncertain when they will occur next. If we apply governance in a way that resolves the added uncertainty because of climate change, it becomes climate adaptation governance. Climate adaptation governance can result in two things. One– it can moderate harm caused by climate change, for instance, by building additional water storage in the city. Or two– it can exploit beneficial opportunities resulting from climate change, for instance, designing living spaces that become water storage when there is flooding in the city.
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Climate adaptation governance sounds very promising. The next step will deal with why we need climate adaptation governance and how this has been done so far.

This video gives an overview of how governments respond to climate change effects, and what type of issues they need to address.

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Making Climate Adaptation Happen: Governing Transformation Strategies for Climate Change

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