Contrasting frames in policy debates on climate change adaptation

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The process by which issues, decisions, or events acquire different meanings from different perspectives has been studied as framing. In policy debates about climate change adaptation, framing the adaptation issue is a challenge with potentially farreaching implications for the shape and success of adaptation projects. From the available literature on howthemeaning of climate change adaptation is constructed and debated, three key dimensions of frame differences were identified: (1) the tension between adaptation and mitigation as two contrasting but interrelated perspectives on climate change; (2) the contrast between framing climate change adaptation as a tame technical problem, and framing climate change as a wicked problem of governance; and (3) the framing of climate change adaptation as a security issue, contrasting state security frames with human security frames. It is argued that the study of how climate change adaptation gets framed could be enriched by connecting these dimensions more closely with the following themes in framing research: (1) how decision-making biases that to framing issues as structured technical problems; (2) the process of scale framing by which issues are situated at a particular scale level; and (3) the challenge of dealing with the variety of frames in adaptation processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • climatic change
  • climate adaptation
  • governance
  • environmental security
  • scale frames
  • discourse
  • vulnerability
  • impacts
  • connection
  • management
  • attention
  • conflict

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