Climate Change and Adaptive Capacity in the City of Santos

  • Fabiano de Araujo Moreira
  • Shona Paterson
  • Lucí Hidalgo Nunes
  • Mark Pelling


Knowing the adaptive capacity of a given local – central objective of this work – contributes to understanding the generic capacities existing in a society that allow collective actions and its self-protection to avoid or face changes in multiple systems. The goal is to evaluate the adaptive capacity of the municipality of Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, based on the application of an index with institutional approach, the Adaptive Capacity Index (ACI) in a series of agents from the various sectors who are responsible for dictating the regulations of the municipality, observing the issue by its social aspect, conducting research on adaptation among local communities analyzing the role of institutions, culture and political changes that affect individual and/or collective in the face of adverse effects that may arise due to climate changes. According to the interviewees, there has been a slight progression of ACI components in the last 10 years in the city of Santos due to: (i) lack of integration of risk management organizations; and (ii) domain of the adaptation agenda by the local Civil Defence.


Adaptive capacity Risk management Adaptation Climate change 



The results of this analysis were funded by NERC (NE/L008963/1), NSF (ICER 1342969) and FAPESP (Fapesp Proc. 12/51876-0 and 14/14598-8). The authors thank the respondents for the time given and for exposing and sharing their visions.


  1. Berkhout, F. (2012). Adaptation to climate change by organizations. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 3, 91–106.Google Scholar
  2. Carmo, R. L., & Silva, C. A. M. (2009). População em zonas costeiras e mudanças climáticas: redistribuição espacial e riscos. In D. J. Hogan & E. Marandola Jr. (Eds.), População e mudança climática: dimensões humanas das mudanças ambientais globais. Campinas/Brasilia: Núcleo de Estudos de População – Nepo, Unicamp/UNFPA.Google Scholar
  3. Eisenack, K., et al. (2014). Explaining and overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4, 867–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gupta, J., et al. (2010). The adaptive capacity wheel: A method to assess the inherent characteristics of institutions to enable the adaptive capacity of society. Environmental Science & Policy, 13, 459–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. High, C., Pelling, M., & Rengasamy, S. (2004). Local agency, adaptation and the shadow system: The institutional architecture of social learning in rural areas of the UK and India. XI World Congress on Rural Sociology, Trondheim, Norway, 25–30 July 2004.Google Scholar
  6. IBGE – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. (2010). Census 2010.Google Scholar
  7. IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Moreira, F. A., Nunes, L. H., Paterson, S. K., et al. (2017). Adaptive capacity index: Part II. Santos, Brazil (Working Paper 77. Contested Development Working Paper Series). Department of Geography, King’s College London. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  9. Nunes, L. H., & Modesto, R. P. (1992). Comportamento pluviométrico nos municípios atendidos pelo Plano Preventivo de Defesa Civil – PPDC. Revista do Instituto Geológico, 13, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Paterson, S. K., & Pelling, M. (2017). Adaptive capacity: Methodological working paper. Paper 75. Contested Development Working Paper Series Department of Geography, King’s College London. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  11. Paterson, S. K., Pelling, M., Nunes, L. H., et al. (2017). Size does matter: City scale and the asymmetries of climate change adaptation in three coastal towns. Geoforum, 81, 109–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pelling, M., & Zaidi, R. Z. (2013). Measuring adaptive capacity: Application of an indexing methodology in Guyana (EPD Working Paper #47). Department of Geography, King’s College London.Google Scholar
  13. Pelling, M., High, C., Dearing, J., et al. (2008). Shadow spaces for social learning: A relational understanding of adaptive capacity to climate change within organisations. Environment and Planning A, 40(4), 867–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Silva, R. B., & Nunes, L. H. (2016). Vulnerability profiles in a Metropolitan Area of Brazil. Saarsbrüchen: Lambert Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  15. Zanetti, V. B., Sousa, W. C., Jr., & Freitas, D. M. (2016). A climate change vulnerability index and case study in a Brazilian Coastal City. Sustainability, 8(8), 811. Scholar
  16. Zundt, C. (2006). Baixada Santista: uso, expansão e ocupação do solo, estruturação de rede urbana regional e metropolização. In J. M. P. Cunha (Ed.), Novas Metrópoles Paulistas: População, vulnerabilidade e segregação. Campinas: Núcleo de Estudos de População – Nepo. Unicamp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabiano de Araujo Moreira
    • 1
  • Shona Paterson
    • 2
  • Lucí Hidalgo Nunes
    • 3
  • Mark Pelling
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Campinas (Unicamp)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Future Earth CoastsCorkIreland
  3. 3.SantosSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Department of GeographyKing’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations