Climate change and social vulnerability

Climate change and social vulnerability
The effects of climate change are expected to be
more severe for some segments of society than for others because of geographic location, the degree of association with climate-sensitive environments, and unique
cultural, economic, or political characteristics of particular areas. Social vulnerability and equity in the context of
climate change are important because some populations
may have less capacity to prepare for, respond to, and
recover from climate-related hazards and effects and be
disproportionately affected by climate change. We conducted a comparative synthesis of literature and information on socioeconomic, health, and cultural effects of
climate change on indigenous, low-income, and rural resource-based communities in North America.
From this synthesis we identified key issues, themes, and considerations pertaining
to the effects of climate change on socially vulnerable populations. Sources of information included academic literature, gray literature, popular media, and governmental and nongovernmental Web sites. We also document the emergence of issues not
currently addressed in academic literature, identify knowledge gaps and questions
for future research, and present information about social vulnerability in ways intended to educate decisionmakers and inform the policymaking processes.
Stay tuned for this synthesis: PNW-GTR-838. Social vulnerability and equity in the context of climate change: a synthesis of literature. Kathy Lynn,
Katharine MacKendrick, and Ellen M. Donoghue (in press).
Other upcoming work
includes a general technical report titled, Legal considerations for climate
change impacts on tribes’
off-reservation resources,
and a study focused on
how these issues play out
in Alaska and Canada.