In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Vulnerability to Climate Change

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Reference Works
  • Mapping Vulnerabilities

Geography Vulnerability to Climate Change
Narcisa Pricope, Lumari Pardo-Rodriguez, David López-Carr
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 October 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0040

This article was revised by Narcisa G. Pricope, Lumari Pardo-Rodriguez, David Lopez-Carr, Emily Williams, and Lane Zorich on 22 February 2018. The revised version can be found here.


Regardless of academic discipline, whether human or political ecology, the social sciences, or emergent sustainability or global change sciences, vulnerability is a useful concept for discussing a relatively broad suite of environmental, socioeconomic, institutional, and political phenomena. Furthermore, regardless of the vulnerability analysis framework used, social, economic, institutional, and political structures modify social and environmental vulnerability. However, in the risk-hazards and geography literatures, vulnerability was initially assessed with a focus on environmentally driven outcomes. Traditionally, vulnerability research might employ the risk-hazards approach or a pressure-and-release model in studying sustainable livelihoods, vulnerability to climate change or to famines and food insecurity, human ecology, or the integrated vulnerability of socio-ecological systems. The literature corroborates, on the one hand, that institutions adapt to environmental risks and, on the other, that interdependence exists among environmental risk (either experienced or perceived), political economy of development, and systems’ resilience.

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