Book summary: Resilience – The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change

Article, 28 March 2019

The term ‘resilience’ – one of today’s hottest buzzwords in climate and development – comes under the spotlight in a new book that includes a chapter IIED’s Saleemul Huq has co-authored with researchers Yousuf Mahid and Nadine Suliman from the International Centre for Climate Change and Development.

In 'Resilience: The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change', leading experts interrogate interventions that support climate adaptation. Chapter contributions cover a range of disciplines, from law to engineering, and cover regions from Africa to the Pacific. They explore the need for adaptation in light of escalating climate-change impacts including sea-level rise, temperature increases, rainfall variability and threats to food security.

The book reviews ways to build resilience in a range of contexts – from the Arctic, to small island states, to urban areas, across food and energy systems. 

Features include:

•    A summary of tools and methods used in recent adaptation innovations
•    Chapters from diverse authors from academic institutions, humanitarian organisations and UN agencies, and
•    Evaluation of adaptation options, highlighting gaps in knowledge where further research or new tools are needed.

The chapter 'Evolution of Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Negotiation' is co-authored by IIED’s Saleemul Huq and Yousuf Mahid and Nadine Suliman from the International Centre for Climate Change and Development. 

In this interview, Huq explains how he and the chapter’s co-authors examine the term resilience and how it is used.

“Resilience has become very popular in the worlds of development and climate change – but it is a term that has different meanings in different contexts. This creates a fuzziness between being resilient to the adverse impacts of climate change and adapting to the impacts. Our chapter explores these different terms,” says Huq.

“Understanding terminology is so important for engaging with the climate change debate. We are too quick to slip into jargon. Climate change is impacting every person in every country on every continent – we need to be very careful with the language we use when talking to a broader audience."


Resilience: The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change, edited by Zinta Zommers and Keith Alverson (2018), available to purchase from Elsevier, 376 pages, eBook (ISBN: 9780128118924), paperback (ISBN: 9780128118917).

  • Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Give your views in the comments section below.

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Book cover: Resilience – The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change

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