Depoliticizing adaptation: a critical analysis of EU climate adaptation policy

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The ways in which climate adaptation is understood in the European Union is
examined via three key policy documents: the Strategy on adaptation and the
Green and White Papers that preceded it. Drawing on Poststructuralist
Discourse Theory, light is shed on the implicit values and assumptions that
underpin this recent policy initiative. The findings demonstrate a tension
between the declared ambition to act on adaptation and implicit suggestions
that nothing really has to change, and the challenge can be addressed by
market and technological innovations, and by mainstreaming adaptation into
existing sectoral policies. The policy discourse effectively serves to depoliticize
choices societies make in response to climate change, presenting adaptation
as a non-political issue. Insight into European adaptation discourse enables
deeper understanding of recent policy developments and opens up possible
entry points for critique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-497
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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