Adapting to Climate Change: Actions, Implementations, and Outcomes

Friday, April 28, 2017 to Monday, May 1, 2017
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Call for Papers


A workshop on

Adapting to Climate Change:

Actions, Implementations, and Outcomes

University of Notre Dame

April 28-May 1, 2017



Debra Javeline, University of Notre Dame (

Nives Dolsak, University of Washington, Seattle (

Aseem Prakash, University of Washington, Seattle (


Sponsored by

University of Notre Dame

Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Henkels Lecture Series

Keough School of Global Affairs

ND-GAIN with the Environmental Change Initiative

Global Commons Initiative

Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy)

Department of Political Science

Notre Dame Law School


University of Washington, SeattleCenter for Environmental Politics



Workshop Objectives:

The scientific and moral case for climate change mitigation is a powerful one. However, even in a best case scenario where the Paris agreement is implemented and where countries take multilateral and unilateral actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the world will still need to adapt.  The greenhouse gases already emitted into the atmosphere “commit” the planet to further warming and the oceans to centuries of thermal expansion.  Mitigation efforts will hopefully succeed in reducing the harmful impacts of global temperature increases, but the world needs to prepare for the impacts that will inevitably materialize and, in many cases, are already materializing.


Adaptation is the reduction of vulnerability to climate change.  It involves changes in business-as-usual approaches and policies so that we better protect our coasts, cities, communities, water supply, food supply, public health, ecosystems, and infrastructure.  Because of continued warming, adaptation is widely seen as a crucial accompaniment of mitigation efforts.


This workshop will showcase cutting edge social science research on climate change adaptation. Specifically, we want to see the climate adaptation scholarship  move beyond intentions and plans and focus on  policy implementation, policy change, policy outputs, and if possible, policy outcomes. The papers can examine the efforts of countries, subnational units, cities, rural communities, or firms to adapt to climate change.  Papers that thoughtfully analyze when and why adaptation “works” will be given priority.  Which of the world’s people, cities, property, and ecosystems are better protected thanks to deliberate intervention, and what kinds of interventions are proving most successful? These interventions could manifest through different types of mechanisms including new governmental policies, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and voluntary approaches. We encourage interested participants to explore variations in adaptation approaches, policies, or outcomes, either across units or over time within a given unit.  Papers based on case studies of specific countries or other geopolitical units should critically analyze the relevance to other cases.


Importantly, we also welcome papers that examine the issues of maladaptation, spillovers, and other unintended consequences of adaptation.  An intervention to raise the river bank may create a moral hazard problem by encouraging homeowners to build houses in the flood plain. Politicians might push through an expensive infrastructure project under the guise of adaptation which does very little to improve resilience or reduce vulnerability to climate change. International donors might seek to join the adaptation bandwagon by committing funds but reduce their appropriations for other types of development activities. Thus, we need to carefully explore what policies are actually being implemented under the guise of adaptation and the extent to which these serve the intended goals.


Finally, in some cases, countries or other geopolitical units do not label their efforts as “adaptation to climate change,” even if the intention and the anticipated end result are similar.  Workshop papers could explore the politics of framing:  why and how the adaptation agenda might be promoted under some other label and how a different label might influence its implementation and effectiveness in reducing vulnerability to climate change.



There is no conference fee. For one author per paper, conference organizers will cover participants’ travel costs (air and ground, economy class only), accommodation, and food expenses.  


Participants should plan to arrive in South Bend by late afternoon on Friday, April 28, 2017 and leave on the morning of Monday, May 1, 2017. Commitment to attend the conference for its entire duration is essential.


Submission Process:

Interested participants should email their proposal to as a Word document with a cover page listing authors, affiliations, and contact information; and a detailed abstract of 1,000 words that outlines the research question, theory, data, and methods along with the contributions to the field of climate change adaptation. We will consider work-in-progress only (papers under review are acceptable). Please DO NOT submit published, forthcoming, or accepted work.


Time Line:

1. Proposal submission: October 1, 2016

2. Notification of paper acceptance: November 1, 2016

3. Paper submission: April 1, 2017

4. Arrival in South Bend: the afternoon of Friday, April 28, 2017

5. Conference begins: evening of April 28, 2017

6. Organized panels: Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30, 2017

7. Departure: the morning of Monday, May 1, 2017