Special Issue Introduction: Adding insult to injury: Climate change and the inequities of climate intervention

Elizabeth Marino, Jesse Ribot

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Climate change will injure vulnerable communities. In response, coordinated global action has emerged to mitigate climate change, to gauge and map climate-related risks, and to plan for adaptation, which in turn has opened new avenues of funding, power, knowledge and opportunity. The identification of climate risks, analysis and diffusion of 'impact' scenarios, incorporation of carbon into economic regimes, and interventions to enhance adaptive capacity will necessarily be experienced differently by different groups. As climate-related crises produce winners and losers, so may discourses and plans made to avert such crises. In the process both the bio-physical events and the social responses shape and reshape social stratification and the distribution of risk. They produce new inequalities and needs for new kinds of responses to guard against injustice. From the emergence of desalination water projects and contested water access, to relocation planning in the Arctic and the South Pacific due to sea-level rise, to increasingly centralized forest management; mitigation and adaptation responses and interventions create their own critical outcomes. This essay and the articles in this special issue examine some new opportunities and risks associated with climate-change discourses and interventions. This special issue shows that vulnerable communities may be at risk of material injury following climate change or climate change intervention; and, be further insulted and injured by lack of representation and recognition, and by misrecognition as simplified, stereotyped victims in local, national and international climate conversations. Using a mixture of theoretical insight and case study research, this collection of articles explores the injuries of climate change as it applies to both direct physical stress scenarios and exposure to adaptation and mitigation policies and planning, as well as the discursive insults of being discounted, stereotyped, or ignored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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