Distributing responsibilities for climate adaptation: Examples from the water domain

Neelke Doorn*, Lieke Brackel, Sara Vermeulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


It is often assumed that climate adaptation policy asks for new responsibility arrangements between central government and citizens, with citizens getting a more prominent role. This prompts the question under which conditions these new responsibility arrangements can be justified as they may raise serious ethical concerns. Without paying due attention to these ethical concerns, climate adaptation policy may be unsuccessful and even be considered illegitimate. This paper aims to address this topic by exploring some examples of climate adaptation responses and their associated ethical challenges. The examples from the water domain differ in terms of their primary beneficiaries and the extent to which they are prone to collective action problems. Discussion of the examples shows that any shift of responsibilities towards citizens should be accompanied by a governmental responsibility to make sure that citizens are indeed able to assume these responsibilities and a responsibility to see to it that the greater involvement of responsibilities does not create disproportional inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3676
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Blameworthiness
  • Capacity
  • Citizens
  • Climate adaptation
  • Community
  • Responsibility
  • Social justice


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributing responsibilities for climate adaptation: Examples from the water domain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this