In climate change adaptation and development circles we often speak of ‘politics’ and ‘power’ as things that stand in the way of progress. We see this frequently in international negotiations where obstruction and grandstanding are common negotiating tactics by politically motivated actors. Yet this negative view of politics is altogether more widespread than that—it’s present in national planning workshops, project development, and just about any forum were complex interests are negotiated.
Because power and politics are viewed as inherently negative forces, climate change adaptation theorists and practitioners are often guilty of creating a political deficit in adaptation— that is, we choose to avoid these forces altogether. Instead, we view climate change and its responses as a purely technical endeavour, modelling impacts and using empirical data to prioritize adaptation actions (science rightly tells us that this is the correct approach!).
Adaptation fund distribution is falling short, but the climate system in northern Ghana isn't waiting. Farmers are taking action in to their own hands while policymakers and development practitioners attempt to bridge the gap between funding sources and vulnerable communities.