Introduction: Development as Usual is not Enough

In T.H. Inderberg, S. Eriksen, K. O'Brien and L. Sygna (eds), Climate Change Adaptation and Development: Changing Paradigms and Practices. London, Routledge, 2015, pp. 1-18.

The rate and magnitude of climate change and its social impacts are linked to the dominant developmental pathways currently driving accelerated warming and heightened vulnerability. These pathways, based on fossil-fuel driven economic growth, are the product of systems, policies, practices and actions at many levels. Development and aid interventions form part of such practices and actions. Here a key question is: to what extent are they contributing to, or countering, current development pathways that are based on fossil-fuel-driven economic growth? A critical question is whether adaptation measures are merely incremental adjustments to ‘development as usual’, or whether they can indeed influence current development pathways in ways that bring about fundamental transformations and paradigm shifts. In this introductory chapter, we describe why climate change adaptation and development need to be taken more seriously, what is meant by ‘development as usual’, and how adaptation is framed, financed and practised within this paradigm. We then describe the contributions to this book, and show that there is significant empirical research to support arguments for new approaches to adaptation and development which can serve as an entry point for creating sustainable and resilient development pathways.