Climate change affects the entire globe. However, its effects are influenced by differing geographic expositions and unevenly spread social adaptation capacities. Empirically, different levels of social vulnerability can be observed which are explained by distinct levels of wealth – so the general explanation goes. Such correlations cannot be neglected and are quite trivial: assuming similar expositions, The Netherlands are better prepared to construct dikes against flooding than Bangladesh.
But what is about different vulnerabilities occurring despite of comparable levels of wealth? Why is it that the Mississippi delta was devastated by hurricane Katrina whereas the Rhine-Meuse delta remained almost unaffected up to now? What accounts for the fact that Texas, not really know for caring much for environmental niceties, has set up more windmills than California and is close to outpace Denmark and Germany with respect to the production of wind power? How can it be that Texas nevertheless rejects any environmental political guidelines from Washington?
These questions are discussed by amalgamating the Cultural Theory (Douglas/Wildavsky 1982, Schwarz/Thompson 1990) and the Varieties of Capitalism approach (Hall/Soskice 2001). The rationality behind this idea is that societies which are rather coined by collective and egalitarian principles are better prepared to cope with cooperative tasks like building dikes whereas individualistic institutions and convictions result in a situation in which the rich seek shelter whereas the poor are left alone. Contrary, it is easier to realize (environmental-)innovations like windmills within a liberal context. That is because it is easier to raise venture capital and to overcome opposition within the neighbourhood (among other things).
Our theoretical argument picks up the vaguely claimed correlation of cultural frames of interpretation and socio-economic institutions (Dryzek 2008, Mamadouh 1999) and explores it in greater depth.
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