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Environmental degradation -- Prevention, Climatic changes -- Mitigation -- Latin America, Climatic changes -- Effect of globalization on, Carbon offsetting


Robin Leichenko and Karen O‘Brien have proposed ―double exposure‖ as a conceptual framework to demonstrate how processes of globalization and global environmental change (GEC) redefine risk and encourage new, interrelated responses to social and ecological transitions (O‘Brien and Leichenko, 2000; Leichenko and O'Brien, 2008). In particular, the concept encourages researchers and policy makers to consider interplay between global climate change and globalization and how this is expressed unevenly across space. After reviewing the ways double exposure has been used in the literature, we consider four case studies to investigate the utility of the framework for analyzing and understanding climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Americas. Our case studies include (1) dengue and malaria outbreaks in Jamaica, (2) agriculture in the Argentinean drylands, (3) hydroelectric production in northwestern Panama, and (4) climate change mitigation through carbon offsets at a regional level in Latin America. We agree with O‘Brien and Leichenko (2000) that double exposure can be used to highlight at multiple scales the so-called 'winners‘ and 'losers‘ created by current global transitions and thus we seek to apply the framework to research in new arenas.

Double exposure brings focus to human-environmental interactions. This attention could be, and often is, recognized without the use of the double exposure framework, but the use of this heuristic devise is particularly compelling in that it encourages contemplation about ways in which uneven development advantages some groups and individuals at the expense of others. For example, those that benefit from globalization and climate change economics can often be conceptually paired with those that are made more vulnerable, as we demonstrate in the agricultural and energy sectors. In addition, double exposure helps demonstrate the interrelation of development trade-offs, as we also exhibit through case study analysis. In our conclusion, to encourage on-going engagement with double exposure as a research lens, we (1) identify potential limitations of the existing framework, (2) recommend complementary bodies of literature, and (3) discuss ethical implications of our research findings.


A product of the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute in Panama City.

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