Global Climate Adaptation Governance

In the last decade, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has moved from a strong focus on mitigation to increasingly address adaptation. Climate change is no longer simply about reducing emissions, but also about enabling countries to deal with its impacts. Yet, most studies of the climate regime have focused on the evolution of mitigation governance and overlooked the increasing number of adaptation-related decisions and initiatives.

Nina has examined emerging global adaptation governance. In a co-authored European Journal of International Relations article with Asa Persson they identify the body of rules and commitments on adaptation and find that there are more attempts to govern adaptation than many mitigation-focused accounts of the international climate regime would suggest. The paper then asks: to what degree are adaptation rules and commitments legalized in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change? Their analysis finds that adaptation governance is low in precision and obligation.

In a special issue of the Journal of International Environmental Agreements on climate finance Nina has examined global adaptation financing. She argues that states have not precisely defined adaptation, and that this is substantially due to epistemic ambiguity  not just strategic ambiguity. She then identifies two consequences of epistemic ambiguity: a proliferation of activities labelled as adaptation, and difficulties tracking and monitoring adaptation assistance. This work highlights the need for scholars to study adaptation governance within the climate regime. She has also examined how climate change became an international issue, thanks to growing political and scientific consensus.


Hall, Nina and Asa Persson, “Global Adaptation Governance: Why isn’t it legally binding?”, European Journal of International Relations, published on-line September 2016, Climate finance

Hall, Nina, ‘What is Adaptation to Climate Change? Epistemic Ambiguity in the Climate Finance System’, Special Issue on Climate Finance, Journal of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. 17(1), 2017. 37-53.

Hall, Nina. ‘The Institutionalisation of Climate Change in Global Politics’, Chapter 4 in Environment, Climate Change and International Relations, E-International Relations Journal, April 2016, 60 – 75.