Disparities in exposure to climate change risk and vulnerability
Disparities in exposure to climate change risk and vulnerability, including variations in people’s location, wealth, social differences (age, gender, education), risk perception
Detailed examples of two or more societies with contrasting vulnerability
Vulnerability refers to the degree to which people or the things they value are susceptible to, or are unable to cope with, the adverse impacts of climate change. Thus, vulnerability determines how severe the impacts of climate change might be. There are three dimensions of vulnerability to climate change: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity.
Exposure is the degree to which people and the things they value could be exposed to climate variation or change;
Sensitivity is the degree to which they could be harmed by that exposure; and
Adaptive capacity is the degree to which they could mitigate the potential for harm by taking action to reduce exposure or sensitivity.
The expression “things they value” not only refers to economic value and wealth, but also to places and to cultural, spiritual, and personal values. In addition, this expression refers to critical physical and social infrastructure, including such physical infrastructure as police, emergency, and health services buildings, communication and transportation networks, public utilities, and schools and daycare centers, and such social infrastructure as extended families, neighborhood watch groups, fraternal organizations, and more. The expression even refers to such factors as economic growth rates and economic vitality. People value some places and things for intrinsic reasons and some because they need them to function successfully in our society. Some groups of people are inherently more vulnerable to climate change than others. The very old or very young, the sick, and the physically or mentally challenged are vulnerable. Disadvantaged groups, such as minorities, those with few educational opportunities, or non-English speakers are more vulnerable than the majority, better-educated, English-speaking population. Women, who typically spend more time and effort on care-giving to parents, children, and the sick than men do, are more vulnerable because that care-giving exposes them more to the impacts of climate change. More vulnerable groups often combine these categories, such as the poor—who can be old, minority, non-English speaking, and female, for example. Another example of a particularly vulnerable group is the single-mother household, which can be headed by a poor woman of color who is responsible not only for caregiving, but also for providing the family income.
The concept of resilience is important to understanding adaptive capacity to climate change. Resilience refers to the ability of a human system to withstand contemporary shocks and to anticipate and plan for future shocks. Resilient systems have the ability to learn from past experiences and to use that knowledge when confronting problems. Systems with high adaptive capacity are therefore resilient and able to reconfigure themselves to deal with climate change. Systems with low adaptive capacity are much less resilient and much more vulnerable to climate change. From https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog438w/node/252
How does the CCVI calculate a score from 1 to 10 in order to determine vulnerability to the impact of climate change? Give examples of countries (and their scores) at both ends of the scale. (p189). What are the similarities and differences between the CCVI and the CRI? Which do you think is the better measure of vulnerability? Why?
The UNDP states that “99% of the casualties from climate change will be in developing countries”. Explain how the following demographic groups within those countries will be disproportionately affected by climate change: (p195)
Poorer people (3 reason)
Women (8 reasons)
Old people (2 reasons)
Children (1 reason)
What is “risk perception”? (p197)
Explain how the climate change controversy influences risk perception. Describe 4 general factors that affect general risk perception. (p198 - also see the RLS in the Geography and TOK section).
3. Climate change and location
Questions to consider:
What is the pattern shown in the CCVI and the CRI? What are the similarities? Why are they different? (refer back to reading).
Why are there so many different methodologies for examining the risk to a particular location?
What are the factors that are connected to location which affect the extent to which populations are vulnerable to climate change (SEEP)?
What do they all have in common in terms of overall conclusions?
4. Climate change and wealth
Why are poorer people more vulnerable to climate change?
Why are the poorer people more vulnerable within countries?
What is it? Why is risk perception important? How do you rate your own perception of the risks from climate change? Can you explain this using the factors which affect risk perception? Factors affecting risk perception:
Extent of factual knowledge/data
Level of personal threat
Immediacy of the risk
Extent to which the risk can be controlled
Extent to which person/community is open to changing ideas.