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Adapting to climate financing: discursive constructions of climate change vulnerability in Antigua, West Indies

Authors: Erin Friedman*, CUNY - Graduate Center
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Development, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: climate financing,adaptation, Caribbean, economic development, discourse
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As development assistance is waining, climate financing is playing an increasing role in promoting economic development for small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean. This paper examines the role of climate financing in promoting economic development through studying the linguistic and textual strategies of climate change adaptation programs in Antigua. Through climate negotiations, climate financing proposals, and community engagements, the country has to create a picture of climate change vulnerability, where lives of their low-lying coastal communities and economic prosperity is at stake from sea level rise and devastating hurricanes. This includes the precarious task of reframing "old" environmental hazards and problems as climate change vulnerabilities that require financing for adaptation measures. Through this process, priorities of economic development drive the direction of which communities and which hazards the country counts as vulnerable in order to receive climate financing. This entails evaluating which areas are at most financial risk from environmental hazards, and which communities would benefit most from financial interventions such as loans. This study draws from ethnography, corpus linguistics, and GIS to show how state government discursive strategies articulate climate change as an economic development issue, and their material implications for already vulnerable low-lying coastal communities. The findings of this paper intend to show how economic development subjectivities make use of climate and environment data and information including laws, maps, media, and policies to deemphasize community experiences of hazards in favor of vulnerabilities that accommodate climate financing.

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