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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan
Richard Lalou
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
et al.

Part I. Recent and future climate change in West Africa. Obvious features, uncertainties and perceptions

Chapter 4. Contrasting perceptions with climate change

Scientific observations in three West African contexts

Frédéric Kosmowski, Richard Lalou, Benjamin Sultan, Ousmane Ndiaye, Bertrand Muller, Sylvie Galle et Luc Seguis

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Extrait du texte


In parallel with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation has become a major research subject in recent years. Based on anticipation and resilience mechanisms, adaptation is aimed at ‘managing the inevitable; when reduction seeks to avoid the unmanageable’ (Tubiana et al., 2010). The study of perception is of major interest in particular in rural West Africa, where adaptation is more likely to be autonomous. Indeed, it is accepted that cognitive factors play a role in the adaptation process through the perception of changes, the perception of risks and the perception of adaptive capacities (Hansen et al., 2004; Grothmann and Patt, 2005; Weber, 2010). Normative information in questions of climate is clearly given by scientific expertise. However, learning about climate change from personal experience is a strongly shared experience and the resulting perceptions are often a prior condition for action (mitigation and adaptation), whether or not...


Hydrologist, IRD, LTHE (Laboratoire d’étude des transferts en hydrologie et environnement), UMR 5564 IRD/CNRS/UJF/G-INP, Grenoble, France

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