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Risk and Planet Earth

Vulnerability, Natural Hazards, Integrated Adaptation Strategies

Ed.: Anne Dölemeyer; Janek Zimmer; Gerd Tetzlaff

2010. 110 pages, 28 figures, 17x24cm, 460 g
Language: English

ISBN 978-3-510-65260-0, bound, price: 29.80 €

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Keywords

natural disaster emergency policy

Contents

Synopsis top ↑

Disasters are a major challenge for countries across the globe. Current debates on climate change focus both on extreme weather events that trigger disasters and their long-term variability. Effective disaster prevention requires detailed understanding of and learning from past disasters and the implementation of adaptation strategies in order to mitigate or control disasters resulting from climatic changes already under way. Among them, flood-, hurricane-, heavy rain- and drought-related disasters take a prominent place.

Disaster prevention and preventive adaptation strategies present a complex challenge. Predicting climatic changes is not enough: we need scenarios that describe the probable effects of these changes on local climates and sea levels. Just as important is the implementation of technical and organizational changes in order to prevent, or at least mitigate, the impact of disasters. These changes, obviously, must take into account complex aspects of urbanization and socio-technical development.

“Risk and Planet Earth” addresses the complexity and the multidisciplinarity of this challenge. The authors of this collection deal with a wide range of aspects. The contributions by James K. Mitchell, Ed de Mulder, Irmgard Schwaetzer and Nico Stehr stress the role of politics in coordinating integrated adaptation strategies, focussing on different aspects each. Ed de Mulder states the need to raise awareness of present climate change dynamics and foster adaptation efforts. He sees a current window of opportunity to establish regenerative energy production and take measures to enhance a balanced human impact on earth while adapting to climatic changes already under way. Nico Stehr criticizes solely focussing on “climate protection” as prime political strategy in Germany. He argues that adaptation measures are necessary as a second, parallel strategy. James K. Mitchells contribution advocates a holistic approach to disaster prevention and calls for political programs reflecting such preventions. In this context, he explores the multidimensional nature of both disasters and adaptation/resilience and the resulting exigencies for cross-sectional cooperation across different functional systems on all operational levels. Irmgard Schwaetzer's paper deals with the complexity of the causes of disasters triggered by hydro-meteorological hazards, which occur in increasing numbers and intensities. She stresses the importance of interdisciplinary research, arguing, that tertiary education, currently still poorly developed, is likely to play an important role in this field. This latter aspect is developed further by Ria Hidajat who presents an account of several educational programs in Pakistan and in the Andes region to this end.

Other contributions present models to quantify flood risks and their use in disaster prevention (Christian Dobler; Saqhib Ehsan et al.), as well as in multidimensional vulnerability assessments, integrating socio-economic and demographic aspects and levels of risk exposure (Alexander Fekete); highlight the effects of legal/regulatory frameworks on the practice of flood mitigation measures (Wolfgang Köck); and analyze the interaction of complex socio-ecological systems of developing countries in the context of disaster recovery and adaptive strategies (Mathias Garschagen, Jörn Birkmann). Richard Campanella demonstrates how New Orleans increased geographic exposure to risk is a result of economic considerations and technical modernization, illustrating how disasters are often the result of tightly coupled social-ecological systems which have evolved over a long time period of time.

The volume thus presents an exemplary overview of the breadth of long-term adaptation strategies and applied field research, taking available climate predictions as prominent examples. Being multidisciplinary in its approach, the book addresses researchers concerned with disaster prevention, interested in transcending their own disciplinary boundaries as well as practitioners in the field and the general public.

Bespr.: Wasser und Umwelt H. 1, Jg. 5 top ↑

Die Konferenz "Risiko und Planet Erde - Verwundbarkeit, Naturgefahren, Integrierte Anpassungsstrategien" gehörte zu den Feierlichkeiten zum 600jährigen Bestehen der Universität Leipzig. Die 15 Autoren kamen aus Deutschland, Norwegen, Österreich und den USA. Zu den behandelten Themen gehörten u.a. Klimaänderung und extreme Wetterlagen, Zukünftige Herausforderungen zur Gefährdungs-Reduzierung und der Katastrophen-Vorsorge, Bessere Ausbildung zur Kastrophenbewältigung in Entwicklungsländern, Geo-graphie der Verstädterung und des Risikoanstiegs - Beispiel New Orleans, Mögliche Änderungen der Hochwasserhäufigkeit in einem alpinen Einzugsgebiet. Der englische Text ist gut verständlich geschrieben. Im Hinblick auf die Hochwasserereignisse der letzten Monate sind die behandelten Themen äußerst aktuell.

K. Lecher, Hannover

Wasser und Umwelt, H.1, Jg. 5

Bespr.: Mitteilungen DMG 01/2011 top ↑

Das vorliegende Buch − in englischer Sprache − ist eine Zusammenfassung der Vorträge der Konferenz „Risk and Planet Earth“, die anlässlich des 600. Geburtstages der Universität Leipzig stattfand.

Nach den obligatorischen Grußworten gibt Gerd Tetzlaff in seiner thematischen Einführung die Ausrichtung der Konferenz vor: nur ein möglichst breites und fundiertes Wissen über Naturkatastrophen − hauptsächlich als Konsequenz des anthropogen verursachten Klimawandels − kann der Menschheit helfen, die Auswirkungen zunehmender extremer Wetterereignisse zu begrenzen und sich langfristig an diese Extreme anzupassen.

Sich an diese Maxime haltend, widmen sich die Beiträge der disziplinübergreifenden Komplexität dieser Herausforderung und decken ein weites Spektrum dieser Problematik ab.

Die Beiträge von James K. Mitchell, Ed de Mulder, Nico Stehr und anderen betonen hierbei ausdrücklich die Rolle der Politik bei der Koordinierung von Adaptionsstrategien. Gerade Stehrs knapper Beitrag − der ja schon längere Zeit auf dem Gebiet der Klimatologie arbeitet und 1999 zusammen mit H. von Storch das sehr lesenwerte Büchlein „Klima, Wetter, Mensch“ veröffentlichte – formuliert in fünf Thesen prägnant die dringlichsten Erfordernisse in Bezug auf Klimaschutz und Adaption, kritisiert jedoch zugleich ausdrücklich die alleinige Fokusierung auf den Klimaschutz als primäres Ziel in Deutschland. Er kommt zu dem Schluss, dass vielmehr Adaptionsmaße zu einer parallelen Strategie zwingend notwendig definiert werden müssen.

In weiteren meteorologischen Beiträgen werden beispielsweise Versäumnisse im Katastrophenschutz nach Hurricane Katrina in den USA aufgezeigt (J. Mitchell) oder auch Indizien für mögliche Änderungen von Überflutungsfrequenzen im alpinen Raum diskutiert (C. Dobler).

Irmgard Schwaetzer behandelt in Ihrem Beitrag die Komplexität der Gründe für die in ihrer Anzahl zunehmenden meteorologisch bedingten Katastrophen. Sie kommt zu dem Schluss, dass interdisziplinäre Forschung, aber vor allem die gezielte Wissensvermittlung über Ursache-Wirkungszusammenhänge, eine wichtige Rolle auf diesem Gebiet spielt. Dieser Aspekt wird ebenfalls von R. Hidajat aufgegriffen, die sich in ihrem Beitrag der Bedeutung von „Wissentransfer-Programmen“ beispielsweise in Pakistan widmet.

Mitteilungen DMG 01/2011

Bespr.: Geographie und Schule Heft Nr. 205/35. Jg., Oktober 2013 top ↑

Aus Anlass des 600. „Geburtstages“ der Universität Leipzig fand ein Kongress mit dem Buchtitel statt. Der Band fasst die Beiträge dieses Kongresses zusammen. Aus dem Inhalt der 14 Beiträge: Dealing with Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events; Changing Knowledge about Disaster Recovery: Bridging Gaps between Research and Action in Light of Hurricane Katrina and other Policy-Forcing Events; Higher Education for Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries; Possible Changes in Flood Frequency in an Alpine Catchment.

Geographie und Schule Heft Nr. 205/35. Jg., Oktober 2013

Review: Meteorologische Zeitschrift vol. 21 no. 2 (April 2012) top ↑

This book titled “Risk and Planet Earth – Vulnerability, Natural Hazards, Integrated Adaption Strategies” is a collection of papers presented at a Conference with the same name held in Leipzig from 2–4 March 2009 on the occasion of the 600 anniversary of that University. The title itself would suggest that not only professional readers will be interested in this book but also a broad public.

The events of the last years show, that disaster prevention and adaption strategies is a complex challenge to society and it is not enough to try to forecast the climate change. It is also important to develop technical and organisational tools to handle the results of climate change in order to prevent or at least to mitigate the effects of disasters. Obviously this is coupled with aspects of urbanisation, social aspects and technical developments. The authors of the book “Risk and Planet Earth” try to address this complex and interdisciplinary challenge. I. Schwätzer describes the connection between climate change and extreme weather events, where only 75 % of disasters are related to that. Extreme vulnerability results from the fact, that half of mankind are living in cities and 10 % at the coasts. Education is important to avoid damages. Ed. Mulder points out, that only part of hazards is of human origin and international organisations should try to handle the problems. Nico Stehr estimated increasing risks coupled with increasing temperature and especially with political answers to this problem, although political decisions have a long time of realisation. J. Mitchel tried to find out political interferences to natural disasters comparing them to terroristic attacks. Hurricane Katrina, e.g., raised less recovery programs than 11 September 2001. There is also a connection between economic boom and disasters, which in that case can be handled better (e.g., Japan, China, New Orleans). Other contributions (Birkmann, J., Garschgen, M.) analyse the problems and vulnerability of developing countries and connecting social aspects. R. Campanella demonstrates how New Orleans could overcome it, which often was confronted with disasters in its long and changeful history. The last four authors (Fekete, A., Dobler, C., Ehsan, S. and Köck, W.) present several flood disasters, especially in Germany and Austria, where a combination of snow smelt and rainfall often causes damages.

As a summary the volume presents a broad overview of aspects to manage heavy disasters mainly caused by natural events. So it might be of interest not only for natural scientists, but also for social scientists, politicians and a broad public.

W. NIESEN, Berlin

Meteorologische Zeitschrift vol. 21 no. 2 (April 2012)

Table of Contents top ↑

Welcome Address (Eva-Maria Stange) 5
Words of Welcome (Franz Häuser) 7
Introduction to the Conference (Gerd Tetzlaff) 11
Risk and Planet Earth: An Introduction (Anne Dölemeyer) 13
Dealing with Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
(Irmgard Schwaetzer) 18
Who’s Afraid of Planet Earth? (Eduardo F.J. de Mulder) 22
Future Challenges for Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster
Preparedness (Rudolf Seiters) 26
Five Theses on Climate Change (Nico Stehr) 28
Changing Knowledge about Disaster Recovery: Bridging Gaps
between Research and Action in Light of Hurricane Katrina and
other Policy-Forcing Events (James K. Mitchell) 31
Global Disaster Response and Reconstruction: Stabilization versus
Destabilization – Challenges of the Global Disaster Response to
Reduce Vulnerability and Risk Following Disasters
(Jörn Birkmann) 43
Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change Adaptation in
High Risk Areas using the Example of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
(Matthias Garschagen) 56
Higher Education for Disaster Risk Management in Developing
Countries – Experiences of German Development Cooperation
(Ria Hidajat) 66
The Geography of Urbanization and the Evolution of Risk: New
Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Richard Campanella) 77
Soci al Vulnerability Assessment at County Level in Germany
Concerning River-Floods (Alexander Fekete) 81
Possible Changes in Flood Frequency in an Alpine Catchment
(Christian Dobler) 88
Estimation of Possible Damages due to Catastrophic Flooding for
Long-Term Disaster Mitigation Planning (Saqib Ehsan, Walter Marx,
Silke Wieprecht) 95
Adaptation to Flood Risks through Legal Rulemaking – The German
Federal Act to Improve Preventive Flood Control (APFC) and the
European Flood Risks Directive (FRD) (Wolfgang Köck) 103
List of Authors 109