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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

UK Downsizing Adaptation

Last week witnessed multiple stories in the UK press regarding the reduction in staff working on adaptation within the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In response to a freedom of information request by Friends of the Earth, the agency confirmed that staff levels have fallen from a peak of 38 in the 2009/10 fiscal year to just 6 posts in the current year. According to the agency, "How we adapt to any impacts of climate change has been embedded into every policy team in Defra. Staff numbers on the adaptation team will therefore be reduced and the expertise moved to other parts of the Department." This trend seems to resemble what's been observed in Australia recently with the closure of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the dismantling of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. If we believe that adaptation has in fact been so thoroughly mainstreamed throughout national governments that there's no longer utility in having stand-alone adaptation staff, then perhaps this is a sign of adaptation success. But does anyone really believe that?   

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