Population and Environment

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 286–316 | Cite as

Impacts of population change on vulnerability and the capacity to adapt to climate change and variability: a typology based on lessons from “a hard country”

Original Paper

Abstract

This article describes and analyzes the impacts of population and demographic change on the vulnerability of communities to climate change and variability. It begins with a review of existing literature on the effects of population change on anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the exposure of settlements to climate risks, and on the capacity to adapt to climate change. The article explores the relationship between population change and adaptive capacity through detailed examination of empirical findings from a study of small communities in eastern Ontario, Canada currently experiencing a combination of changes in local climatic conditions and rapid demographic change caused by in-migration of urban retirees and out-migration of young, educated people. The combination of changing demographic and climatic patterns has placed increased stress on local social networks that have long been critical to climate adaptation in that region. The case study and literature review are used to create a general typology of the relationship between population change and vulnerability that may be used as a framework for future research in this field.

Keywords

Climate change Vulnerability Adaptation Adaptive capacity Climate Migration Demographic change Social networks Ontario Addington Highlands Environment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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