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Title: Climate adaptation heuristics and the science/policy divide

The adaptation science enterprise has expanded rapidly in recent years, presumably in response to growth in demand for knowledge that can facilitate adaptation policy and practice. However, evidence suggests such investments in adaptation science have not necessarily translated into adaptation implementation. One potential constraint on adaptation may be the underlying heuristics that are used as the foundation for both adaptation research and practice. In this paper, we explore the adaptation academic literature with the objective of identifying adaptation heuristics, assessing the extent to which they have become entrenched within the adaptation discourse, and discussing potential weaknesses in their framing that could undermine adaptation efforts. This investigation is supported by a multi-method analysis that includes both a quantitative content analysis of the adaptation literature that evidences the use of adaptation heuristics and a qualitative analysis of the implications of such heuristics for enhancing or hindering the implementation of adaptation. Results demonstrate that a number of heuristic devices are commonly used in both the peer-reviewed adaptation literature as well as within grey literature designed to inform adaptation practitioners. Furthermore, the apparent lack of critical reflection upon the robustness of these heuristics for diverse contexts may contribute to potential cognitive bias with respectmore » to the framing of adaptation by both researchers and practitioners. Finally, we discuss this phenomenon by drawing upon heuristic-analytic theory, which has explanatory utility in understanding both the origins of such heuristics as well as the measures that can be pursued toward the co-generation of more robust approaches to adaptation problem-solving.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division. Climate Chance Science Inst.
  2. Griffith Univ., Gold Coast (Australia). Griffith Climate Change Response Program
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1381-2386
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY adaptation; climate chance; heuristics; cognitive reasoning; science-policy interface