Water and Resilience

Towards fair and effective responses to climate change

Researcher: Sara Vermeulen

Supervisors: Udo Pesch and Neelke Doorn

Due to climate change, there has been an increasing risk of extreme weather events over the last decades, such as heavy rainfall, severe droughts and sudden storms. This can lead to desertification, erosion, water scarcity, flooding, crop failure, food shortage and, as a result, destabilize societies.  Under the header of resilience, citizens are increasingly expected to take responsibility and to transform their own community into a climate resilient living environment. However, this gives rise to pressing ethical questions that have not yet been addressed in the academic literature.

Hardly any ethical research has been done to explore what actually constitutes a resilient society, what responsibility arrangements between public and private actors are needed to achieve it, and under what conditions this is ethically acceptable. Moreover, methods for assessing the effectiveness of these arrangements and for making a time-dependent assessment of ethically relevant impacts are lacking.

This PhD research project is about responsibilities in resilience for climate change adaptation. The aim of the overall Vidi project is to develop an ethical theory to assess to what extent these responsibilities can be distributed in a way that is ethically acceptable, fair, socially just, and effective.

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