DOI: 10.1177/23996544231212730 ISSN: 2399-6544

Understanding variation in national climate change adaptation: Securitization in focus

Mark Rhinard, Claudia Morsut, Elisabeth Angell, Simon Neby, Mathilda Englund, Karina Barquet, Heleen Mees, Jana Surian, Swapnil Vashishtha, Lisa Segnestam, Ole Andreas Hegland Engen
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Public Administration
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Climate change is recognized today not just as a pressing and prominent issue on government agendas but also one that has been increasingly ‘securitized’ in a variety of national and global settings. We know little, however, if climate change adaptation, as a subset of climate action, has followed a similarly securitized path. This article addresses that question, exploring not only if climate change adaptation has been securitized but also what type of securitization – threat-oriented or risk-oriented – has emerged. Turning our empirical focus to three national settings of Norway, Sweden, and The Netherlands, we look for signs of securitization as well as whether securitization has been facilitated, shaped, or even blocked by existing governance features in each setting. We use this study to link the securitization literature with environmental governance approaches by building a novel analytical framework. Our findings show some intriguing and unexpected patterns, including evidence of risk-oriented securitization couched nevertheless as ‘business as usual’. We contribute to the growing debate on securitization in environmental governance while also casting new light on national climate change adaptation processes.

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