Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 276–288 | Cite as

Living with climate change risks: stakeholders’ employment and coastal relocation in mediterranean climate regions of Australia and Spain

  • Sandra FatorićEmail author
  • Ricard Morén-Alegret
  • Rhiannon Jane Niven
  • George Tan


Climate change impacts are no longer just a future issue for communities in the Mediterranean climate regions. This comparative study offers insights on climate change risk perceptions and attitudes among environmental, economic and social stakeholders in coastal areas in northeastern Spain and South Australia, as well as compares interviewed stakeholders’ risk perceptions with available documentary data and participant observation. Using a community risk assessment approach, the results show that some stakeholders perceive that climate change is already and/or may further continue to affect their employment, mostly in a predominantly negative way. Interestingly, some other interviewed stakeholders consider that climate change creates opportunities through new and additional areas of work. The findings also suggest that climate change may influence relocation of coastal residential populations in both case studies, which is likely to be an acceptable option among the stakeholders. This acceptance can be linked to the fact that in both areas there is a significant percentage of resident population with migrant background. This study calls for a need to understand better the personal experience of climate change in industrialized countries, as well as to consider coastal relocation in the integrated coastal planning and other territorial and population policies.


Risk perception Direct experience Relocation Climate change policy Australia Spain 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation (MINECO), Spain (Grant Number CSO2009-13909) and by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants, Spain (AGAUR), (Grant Number FI-DGR 2011). Among the participants in the MINECO-funded project was the late Dr. Graeme Hugo. Thus, this article also pays an international tribute to Dr. Hugo’s contribution to population geography and climate change studies.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyAutonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Geography, Environment and Population, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Australian Population and Migration Research Centre, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.College of Natural ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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