Adaptive Governance, Uncertainty, and Risk: Policy Framing and Responses to Climate Change, Drought, and Flood

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Abstract

As climate change impacts result in more extreme events (such as droughts and floods), the need to understand which policies facilitate effective climate change adaptation becomes crucial. Hence, this article answers the question: How do governments and policymakers frame policy in relation to climate change, droughts, and floods and what governance structures facilitate adaptation? This research interrogates and analyzes through content analysis, supplemented by semi-structured qualitative interviews, the policy response to climate change, drought, and flood in relation to agricultural producers in four case studies in river basins in Chile, Argentina, and Canada. First, an epistemological explanation of risk and uncertainty underscores a brief literature review of adaptive governance, followed by policy framing in relation to risk and uncertainty, and an analytical model is developed. Pertinent findings of the four cases are recounted, followed by a comparative analysis. In conclusion, recommendations are made to improve policies and expand adaptive governance to better account for uncertainty and risk. This article is innovative in that it proposes an expanded model of adaptive governance in relation to “risk” that can help bridge the barrier of uncertainty in science and policy.

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