Global Climate Change is Highly Local

Global Climate Change is Highly Local: Perception and Adaptation of the International Climate Change Discourse in Peru – A Case Study of the Southern Peruvian Andes

Start date: 01.01.2013
End date: 31.12.2016
Funded by: Promotionsstipendium der Humboldt-Stiftung für Klimafolgenforschung
Local project leader: Anja Weber, M.A., Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt


Since the last status reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 2001 and 2007 human induced climate change has been more intensively discussed while increasingly influencing development policy and cooperation. Thereby, the consequences that are expected to arise from climatic changes not only impede sustainable development, but are likely to aggravate the efforts to reduce global poverty. In addition to cross-sectional integration of climate protection (mitigation) and adaptation, these issues are progressively being implemented in local-level projects with the aim to reduce vulnerability and to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity.

Peru, Cusco

Specific development projects as well as the existing international climate change discourse cause local transformations – either as a direct and mainly practice-oriented result of project work or as an indirect impact, reflected for example by changes of local perceptions and cultural views. Within this process, the climate discourse is communicated through diverse channels. Consequently, it is interpreted and processed from a cultural perspective reflected in the transformation of adaptation modes and strategies.

The impacts of the current climate change discourse and the existing development projects dealing with these issues on local levels are focused by the study. Based on empirical ethnographical field studies in the Peruvian Andes, the research project investigates the cultural integration and reinterpretation of national and international climate change information and its implications on local adaptation and transition processes. This should lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of the international climate change discourse and its connection to development cooperation. Furthermore, the study identifies the variety of information channels in use as well as their interpretation and integration at the local level. By linking local, national and international levels, the research project illustrates the existing problems and gaps inherent to the communication and effectiveness of intentions that exist between the international climate change discourse, the implementation of climate related projects and the local realities and processes. The study concludes by presenting solutions to help to rectify them.