Dr. Maria Carmen Lemos spoke at the UA in October 2015 on "Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change.” Lemos is Professor of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Senior Policy Scholar at the Udall Center for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Lemos’s talk focused on the relevance of adaptive capacity—defined as the resources available for people and communities to adapt to climate threats—to mitigate the effects of climate change on human populations and socioecological systems. Developing and building adaptive capacity requires a combination of interventions that addresses not only climate related risks, but also the structural deficits (lack of income, education, health, political power, technology, knowledge, etc.) that shape vulnerability. She discussed the development of a theoretical model of adaptive capacity that can be applied to different systems in support of adaptation decision-making. She also addressed how she has explored empirically different aspects of this model, especially focusing on the role of knowledge and governance in building adaptive capacity in Brazil and in the United States. The talk is part of the UA School of Geography and Development Colloquium series and was co-hosted by CCASS.