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Environ Sci Policy. 2018 Nov;89:184-191. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.07.017.

An institutional analysis to address climate change adaptation in Tenerife (Canary Islands).

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European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Space, Security and Migration Institute, Disaster Risk Management Unit, Italy.
Departamento de Economía Aplicada y Métodos Cuantitativos, Facultad de Economía, Empresa y Turismo, Universidad de La Laguna (ULL), Campus de Guajara, 38200, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Energy Efficiency & Renewables, Italy.


Heat waves and Saharan dust outbreaks have been acquiring more frequency and intensity in the Canary Islands during the last decades. Both climatic hazards are known to produce impacts on human health such as mortality (due to heat waves) and morbidity (due to dusty weather). This work addresses possible climate adaptation policies in Tenerife assuming the increasing impact of heat waves and Saharan dust outbreaks in the island under a climate change scenario. It explores the institutional setting of climate change adaptation planning in Tenerife and evaluates the statu quo of adaptation planning in the island through the engagement of key social actors. An historical review of the local and regional press articles and legislation, an in-depth round of interviews, together with questionnaires to the main social actors allows framing the social and political context in which climate change adaptation in Tenerife is embedded. Key social actors were engaged, including international organisations, atmospheric research centres, local Universities, regional and insular governments, trade unions, and environmental NGOs, among others. The main obstacles mentioned by the social actors that hinder the development of an effective climate adaptation policy address scientific knowledge, data collection and policy making, focusing on the uncertainty of climate models, the lack of epidemiological data and contrasting opinions regarding the existing climate adaptation policies. Public participation, mainstreaming of climate policies and an integrated approach between mitigation and adaptation plans were identified as key policy issues. The outcomes of this study could be meaningful for climate adaptation initiatives at local or regional level, such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, that intend to promote climate resilience through the setup of climate adaptation strategies and plans at municipality level.


Climate change adaptation; Dust storms; Heat waves; Institutional analysis; Policy; Social actors’ engagement

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