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”
- 744 Downloads
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.
KeywordsClimate change Vulnerability Adaptation Adaptive capacity Climate Migration Demographic change Social networks Ontario Addington Highlands Environment
The author would like to thank Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program for its financial support of the empirical research conducted in Addington Highlands. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada also provided financial support that was critical to the production of this article. Genevieve Gilbert is thanked for her cartography and research assistance. Nathalie Paquette assisted in the compilation of climatic data, Nadine Lemoine assisted in preparing population data. This research would not have been possible without the assistance of the residents and council of Addington Highlands. This article was strengthened on the basis of comments of anonymous reviewers and the editor.
- Adger, W. N., Agrawala, S., Mirza, M. M. Q., Conde, C., O’Brien, K., & Pulhin, J. (2007). Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van den Linden, C. E. Hanson, et al. (Eds.), Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 717–743). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Adger, W. N., Kelly, P. M., Winkels, A., Huy, L. Q., & Locke, C. (2002). Migration, remittances, livelihood trajectories and social resilience. Ambio, 31(4), 358–366.Google Scholar
- Brumell, I., Axford, M., Flieler, E., McCulloch, C., & Morrow, C. (Eds.). (2008). The oxen and the axe (5th ed.). Cloyne, ON: Cloyne and District Historical Society.Google Scholar
- Confalonieri, U., Menne, B., Akhtar, R., Ebi, K. L., Hauengue, M., & Kovats, R. S. (2007). Human health. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, C. E. Hanson, et al. (Eds.), Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (pp. 391–431). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Cumming Cockburn Limited (2003). The official plan of the township of Addington Highlands. http://www.addingtonhighlandstwp.ca/draft-OP-2.pdf.
- Dominion of Canada (1901). Census of Canada—Population.Google Scholar
- Döös, B. R. (1994). Environmental degradation, global food production, and risk for large-scale migrations. Ambio, 23(2), 124–130.Google Scholar
- Ehrlich, P. (1968). The population bomb. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
- El-Hinnawi, E. (1985). Environmental refugees. Nairobi: United Nations Environmental Program.Google Scholar
- Ford, J. D., & Smit, B. (2004). A framework for assessing the vulnerability of communities in the Canadian Arctic to risks associated with climate change. Arctic, 57(4), 389–400.Google Scholar
- Glantz, M. H., & Ausubel, J. H. (1988). Impact assessment by analogy: Comparing the impacts of the Ogallala aquifer depletion and CO2-induced climate change. In M. H. Glantz (Ed.), Societal responses to regional climate change (pp. 113–142). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Hamilton, L. C. (2007, June). Footprints: Demographic effects of migration. In Migration in the circumpolar north: New concepts and patterns. Conference presentation at Roskilde University.Google Scholar
- Hartman, C., & Squires, G. D. (Eds.). (2006). There is no such thing as a natural disaster: Race, class, and Hurricane Katrina. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Homer-Dixon, T. F. (1999). Environment, scarcity and violence. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC. (2007a). Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC. (2007b). Summary for policymakers. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, & C. E. Hanson (Eds.), Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (pp. 7–22). New York: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
- Lemmen, D. S., Warren, F. J., Lacroix, J., & Bush, E. (2008). From impacts to adaptation: Canada in a changing climate 2007. Ottawa: Government of Canada.Google Scholar
- Liverman, D. M. (2001). Vulnerability to global environmental change. In J. X. Kasperson & R. E. Kasperson (Eds.), Global environmental risk (pp. 201–216). New York: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
- MacKellar, F. L., Lutz, W., McMichael, A. J., & Suhrke, A. (1998). Population and climate change. In S. Rayner & E. L. Malone (Eds.), Human choice and climate change (Vol. 1, pp. 89–194). Columbus: Battelle Press.Google Scholar
- McLeman, R. (2008a). Climate change migration, refugee protection and adaptive capacity-building. McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 4(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
- McLeman, R. (2008b). Economic and social adaptation to climate change in Canadian seasonal-economy communities: Final scientific report for natural resources Canada (No. Project A1319). Ottawa: Natural Resources Canada.Google Scholar
- McLeman, R., & Gilbert, G. (2008). Adapting to climate change in Addington Highlands: A report to the community (35 p). Ottawa: University of Ottawa.Google Scholar
- McLeman, R., & Smit, B. (2006b). Changement climatique, migrations et sécurité. Les cahiers de la sécurité, 63(4), 95–120.Google Scholar
- Meyer, W. B., & Turner, B. L. (2002). Earth transformed: Trends, trajectories, and patterns. In R. J. Johnston, P. J. Taylor, & M. J. Watts (Eds.), Geographies of global change: Remapping the world (pp. 364–376). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Meyerson, F. A. B. (2002). Population and climate change policy. In S. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, & J. O. Niles (Eds.), Climate change policy: A survey (pp. 251–273). Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Nyong, A., Fiki, C., & McLeman, R. (2006). Drought-related conflicts, management and resolution in the West African Sahel: Considerations for climate change research. Die Erde, 137(3), 223–248.Google Scholar
- O’Connor, R. E., Bord, R. J., & Fisher, A. (1999). Risk perceptions, general environmental beliefs, and willingness to address climate change. Risk Analysis, 19(3), 461–471.Google Scholar
- O’Neill, B. C., MacKellar, F. L., & Lutz, W. (2001). Population and climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Robards, M., & Alessa, L. (2004). Timescapes of community resilience and vulnerability in the circumpolar north. Arctic, 57(4), 415–427.Google Scholar
- Slovic, P., Kunreuther, H., & White, G. F. (2000). Decision processes, rationality and adjustment to natural hazards. In P. Slovic (Ed.), The perception of risk (pp. 1–31). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada. (1996). 1996 census of population. Accessed March 1, 2008. http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/info/census96.cfm.
- Statistics Canada. (2006). Census of Canada, 2006. Accessed March 1, 2008. http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/index-eng.cfm.
- Strauss, S. (2005). Darfur and the genocide debate. Foreign Affairs, January/February 2005.Google Scholar
- Sutherland, K., Smit, B., Wulf, V., & Nakalevu, T. (2005). Vulnerability in Samoa. Tiempo, 54, 11–17.Google Scholar
- UNEP. (2007). Sudan: Post-conflict environmental assessment (353 p). Nairobi: UNEP.Google Scholar
- US Census Bureau (2008). Population and household economic topics. Accessed March 1, 2009. http://www.census.gov/population/www/index.html.
- White, G. F., Kates, R. W., & Burton, I. (2002). Knowing better and losing even more: The use of knowledge in hazards management. Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards, 3(3–4), 81–92.Google Scholar