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Introduction

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Abstract

Open the newspaper on any given day and you will likely find reports on devastating weather extremes somewhere on the globe. For instance, in late September/early October 2016, hurricane Matthew made headlines. In Haïti, it left more than 500 people dead, tens of thousands homeless, and hundreds of thousands in need of food assistance (ocha 2016). Economic damage across the hurricane’s path through Haïti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the USA’s south-eastern coast is estimated at over $8 billion (air Worldwide 2016). In March 2015, tropical cyclone Pam in the Pacific left the island state of Vanuatu in ruins. While the death toll was thankfully much lower than in Haïti, with 16 killed, over half of the population was affected and much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed. Estimated economic damage reached $450 million—equivalent to 64% of Vanuatu’s gross domestic product (gdp) (Esler 2015). We could list more extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, as well as slow-onset processes that are less likely to make headlines but are potentially just as devastating, such as ocean acidification, coral bleaching, or coastal erosion as a result of sea-level rise.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Political ScienceUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.The School of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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