Development futures in the context of climate change: Challenging the present and learning from the past

Nick Brooks, Natasha Grist, Katrina Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change poses a challenge to the dominant development paradigm with its concepts of modernisation, economic growth and globalisation which treat the environment as an externality and largely ignore climate variability. This article explores the extent of the challenge, drawing on archaeological evidence showing that adaptation to severe climate change can involve much more radical changes in human societies than are currently envisaged. Furthermore, short-term adaptation can result in long-term maladaptation, increasing vulnerability to climate shocks. The article argues that development urgently needs to shift its focus away from prevailing growth and yield-maximisation models towards alternatives encouraging resilience and risk-spreading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-765
Number of pages25
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number6
Early online date9 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

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