Advertisement

AMBIO

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 200–209 | Cite as

Path Dependencies and Path Change in Complex Fields of Action: Climate Adaptation Policies in Germany in the Realm of Flood Risk Management

  • Heiko Garrelts
  • Hellmuth Lange
Article

Abstract

The spatial and temporal repercussions of climate change are of an extremely complex nature. Coping with climate change is, first and foremost, a challenge to political decision making and, considering the long-term effects of the climate system, to planning. However, there have never been more doubts that the political-administrative system is able to meet these requirements. Although much evidence has been put forward in favor of such skepticism, sometimes, it is dangerous to overstate the existing limits. Drawing on two case studies in the area of flood risk management in Germany, the article illustrates how and why significant path change came about. In both cases, the state proved to still being a pivotal actor, due to a number of functions that cannot be assumed by other actors. However, other actor groups—such as actors from science, the media, NGOs, and citizen groups—play a significant role as well by providing relevant expertise and influencing the public discourse, thus mobilizing significant political pressure.

Keywords

Climate adaptation Flood risk management Northwest Germany Path change Political steering Policy analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for funding the mentioned research projects and the two referees for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Arts, B., J. van Tatenhove, and P. Leroy. 2000. Policy Arrangements. In Political Modernisation and the environment. The Renewal of Environmental Policy Arrangements, ed. J. van Tatenhove, B. Arts, and P. Leroy, 53–70. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  2. Bankoff, G., G. Frerks, and D. Hilhorst. 2004. Mapping Vulnerability Disasters, Development & People. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, A., and U. Grünwald. 2003. Flood risk in Central Europe. Science 300: 1099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BMU. 2003. Trittin presents draft Flood Control Act. Give our rivers more room—before they take it themselves, Press statement No. 143, August 8th 2003.Google Scholar
  5. BMU. 2005. New Flood Control Act enters into force. Preventive flood protection is improved significantly, Press statement No. 111, May 9th 2005.Google Scholar
  6. BMU. 2006. Press statement No. 190/06, July 20th, 2006.Google Scholar
  7. Cannon, T. 1994. Vulnerability analysis and the explanation of “natural” disasters. In: Disasters, Development and Environment, ed. A. Varley. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Coleman, A. 2009. Climate Change and Flood Risk Methodologies in the UK. In Planning for Climate Change. Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners, ed. S. Davoudi, J. Crawford, and A. Mehmood, 205–218. London, Earthscan. Google Scholar
  9. De Vries, J., and M. Wolsink. 2009. Making Space for Water: Spatial Planning and Water Management in the Netherlands. In Planning for Climate Change. Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners, ed. S. Davoudi, J. Crawford, and A. Mehmood, 191–204. London, Earthscan.Google Scholar
  10. del Moral L., P. van der Werff, K. Bakker, and J. Handmer. 2003. Global Trends and Water Policy in Spain. Water International 28(3): 358–366.Google Scholar
  11. Dietz, K. 2006. Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change from a Social-ecological Perspective. Discussion paper 01/06 within the project “Global Governance and Climate Change”. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin (in German, English abstract).Google Scholar
  12. DKKV (German Committee for Disaster Prevention). 2004. Flood prevention in Germany. Lessons learned from the 2002 Disaster in the Elbe Region. Bonn, Germany: DKKV.Google Scholar
  13. Dryzek, J.S. 1997. The Politics of the Earth Environmental Discourses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Edelman, M. 1967. The Symbolic Use of Politics. Urbana [u.a.]: Univ. of Ill. Press.Google Scholar
  15. EEA (European Environment Agency). 2004. Impacts of Europe’s changing climate. An indicator-based assessment. EEA Report No 2/2004. Copenhagen: European Environment Agency, 107 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Friesecke, F. 2004. Precautionary and Sustainable Flood Protection in Germany—Strategies and Instruments of Spatial Planning. Paper presented at the 3rd FIG Regional Conference. Jakarta, Indonesia, October 3–4, 2004.Google Scholar
  17. Garrelts, H., H. Lange, and M. Flitner. 2008. Adaptation to climate change: settlement planning in river basins. Change and challenges in the policy field of flood protection. RaumPlanung 137: 72–76. (in German).Google Scholar
  18. Germanwatch. 2009. Climate change in Northern Germany. Sea level rise and more: What does the future hold for us? (in German). http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/nord09.pdf (June 10, 2010, 11).
  19. Giddens, A. 2009. The politics of climate change. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hajer, M.A. 1995. The Politics of Environmental Discourse Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  21. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change): Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Summary for Policymakers. Paris 2001.Google Scholar
  22. IPCC: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers. Paris 2007.Google Scholar
  23. Jänicke, M. 1990. State failure. The impotence of politics in industrialised society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jekel, H. 2005. The law to improve the preventive flood protection. Zeitschrift für Umweltrecht 9: 393–399. (in German).Google Scholar
  25. Jonuschat, H., E. Baranek, M. Behrendt, K. Dietz, B. Schlußmeier, H. Walk, and A. Zehm. 2007. Participation and Sustainability. From Principle to Implementaion. Findings of Social-ecological Research. Volume 7. München, Germany: oekom (in German).Google Scholar
  26. Kemp, R., P. Sayeed, and R.B. Gibson. 2005. Governance for sustainable development: moving from theories to practice. International Journal for Sustainable Development 8: 12–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kingdon, J.W. 1984. Agendas, alternatives, and public policies. Boston [u.a.]: Little, Brown and Co 1984.Google Scholar
  28. Lange, H. 2008: Radical Change? Three Difficulties with the handling of a social-scientific core issue. In Sustainability as Radical Change. The Quadrature of the Circle? ed. H. Lange, 13–42. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften (in German).Google Scholar
  29. Lange, H. 2010. Political innovations as a condition for substantial change in sustainability. In Social Innovation, ed. J. Howaldt,and H. Jacobsen, 199–218. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften (in German).Google Scholar
  30. Lange, H., and H. Garrelts. 2008. Integrated Flood Risk Management in an Individualised Society. artec-paper No. 152. Bremen: artec, University Bremen, 148 pp (in German).Google Scholar
  31. Lange, H., A. Wiesner-Steiner, and E. Voossen. 2005. Climate Change and Preventive Risk- and Coastal Management at the German Northsea-Coast. (KRIM)—Project IV: Political-administrative Steering processes (PAS). artec-Paper No. 129. Bremen, Germany: artec, University Bremen, 154 pp (in German).Google Scholar
  32. Luhmann, N. 1989. Political Steering. A Contribution to the Debate. Politische Vierteljahresschrift 30: 4–9 (in German).Google Scholar
  33. Martens, T., H. Garrelts, H. Grunenberg, and H. Lange. 2009. Taking the heterogeneity of citizens into account: Flood risk communication in coastal cities Case study Bremen. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS) 9: 1931–1940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mayntz, R. 1980. Implementation of political programmes. Empirical Research Reports. Königstein, Germany: Athenäum (in German).Google Scholar
  35. Mechler, R., and J. Weichselgartner. 2003. Disaster Loss Financing in Germany—The Case of the Elbe River Floods 2002. Interim Report IR-03-021. IIASA, Laxenburg.Google Scholar
  36. Mickwitz, P., F. Aix, S. Beck, D. Carss, N. Ferrand, C. Görg, A. Jensen et al. 2009. Climate Policy Integration, Coherence and Governance. PEER Report No. 2. Helsinki Partnership for European Environmental Research. 92 pp.Google Scholar
  37. Nachtnebel, H.P. 2003. New Strategies for Flood Risk Management after the Catastrophic Flood in 2002 in Europe. Third DPRI-IIASA International Symposium on Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRM-2003), 3-5 July, 2003, Kyoto, Japan.Google Scholar
  38. NLWKN (Niedersächsischer Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten-und Naturschutz). 2007. Major Plan Coastal Protection Niedersachsen Bremen Mainland. Norden and Bremen, Germany: NLWKN (in German).Google Scholar
  39. North, O. 1992. Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr (in German).Google Scholar
  40. Pierson, P. 2000. Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics. American Political Science Review 94(2): 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schanze, J. 2006. Flood risk management—a basic framework. In Flood Risk Management. Hazards, Vulnerability and Mitigation Measures, ed. J. Schanze, E. Zeman, and J. Marsalek, 21–34. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Schirmer, M. 1996. The climate and its significance for river ecosystems. In Warning signals from rivers and estuaries, ed. J. L. Lozan, H. Kausch, 23–27. Berlin, Germany: Parey (in German).Google Scholar
  43. Schirmer, M., and B. Schuchardt. 2003. Estuaries and Climate Change. In Warning signals from the Northsea and WaddenseaA Current Environmental Assessment, ed. J. L. Lozán, E. Rachor, K. Reise, J. Sündermann, and H. v. Westernhagen, 47–50. Hamburg, Germany: GEO-Verlag (in German).Google Scholar
  44. Schuchardt, B., and M. Schirmer (eds.). 2005. Climate Change and Coast: the Future of the Lower Weser Region. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer (in German).Google Scholar
  45. Schuchardt, B., and M. Schirmer (eds.). 2007a. Land submerged? Climate Change, Coastal Protection and Risk Management in Northern Germany: the Perspective 2050. München, Germany: oekom (in German).Google Scholar
  46. Schuchardt, B. and M. Schirmer. 2007b. Coastal protection as adaptation to climate change: Overview and recommendations of the research project. In Land submerged? Climate Change, Coastal Protection and Risk Management in Northern Germany: the Perspective 2050, ed. B. Schuchardt, and M. Schirmer, 218–224. München, Germany: oekom (in German).Google Scholar
  47. Stirling, A. 2003. Risk, uncertainty and precaution: Some instrumental implications for the social sciences. In Negotiating the Environmental Change, ed. F. Berkhout, M. Leach, I. Scoones. Cheltenham, UK: Edvard Elgar.Google Scholar
  48. Swart, S., R. Biesbroek, S. Binnerup, T. R. Carter, C. Cowan, T. Henrichs, S. Loquen et al. 2009. Europe Adapts to Climate Change. Comparing National Adaptation Strategies. Helsinki: Partnership For European Environmental Research (PEER) Report No 1., 283 pp.Google Scholar
  49. Sydow, J., G. Schreyögg, and J. Koch. 2005. Organisational Paths: Path Dependency and Beyond. Paper presented at the 21th EGOS Colloquium, June 30–July 2, 2005, Berlin, Germany.Google Scholar
  50. Szarka, J. 2004. Wind Power, Discourse Coalitions and Climate Change: Breaking the Stalemate? European Environment 14: 317–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. UBA (Umweltbundesamt, Environmental Agency). 2006. Climate Risk through thawing Permafrost? Dessau: UBA-Background Paper. http://www.uba.de/klimaschutz/publikationen/permafrost.pdf (June 10, 2010) (in German).
  52. von Blumenthal J. 2005. Governance—taking a critical stock. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 15: 1149–1180 (in German).Google Scholar
  53. von Prittwitz V. 1994. Policy Analysis. Opladen: Leske and Budrich (in German).Google Scholar
  54. Wiering, M.A., and B. Arts. 2006. Discursive shifts in Dutch river management: “deep” institutional change or adaptation strategy? Hydrobiologica 565: 327–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wisner, B., P. Blaikie, T. Cannon, and I. Davis. 2004. At risk. Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Wollmann, H. (ed.). 1979. Politics in the of Brush of Bureauracy. Contribution to the Implementation Research. Levithan Sonderheft 3. Opladen, Germany: Westdeutscher Verlag (in German).Google Scholar
  57. ZENEB (Zentrum für Naturrisiken und Entwicklung Bonn/Bayreuth). 2002. Additional contribution. Floods in Europe: Lessons learned? Bayreuth and Bonn: Universities Bayreuth and Bonn (in German).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Sustainability StudiesUniversity BremenBremenGermany

Personalised recommendations