Natural Hazards under Climate Change Conditions: A Case Study of Expectations and their Normative Significance in Protecting Alpine Communities

Natural Hazards Review 2 (23):1-15 (2022)
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Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of certain kinds of natural hazard events in alpine areas. This interdisciplinary study addresses the hypothetical possibility of relocating the residents of three alpine areas in Austria: the Sölk valleys, the Johnsbach valley, and the St. Lorenzen/Schwarzenbach valleys. Our particular focus is on these residents’ expectations about such relocations. We find that (1) many residents expect that in the next decades the state will provide them with a level of natural hazards protection, aid, and relief that allows them to continue to live in these valleys; (2) this expectation receives some legal protection but only when it is associated with fundamental rights; and (3) the expectation is morally significant, i.e., it ought to be considered in assessing the moral rightness or justness of relocation policies. These results suggest legal changes and likely extend to many other (Austrian) alpine areas as well.

Author Profiles

Thomas Pölzler
University of Graz
Lukas Meyer
University of Graz


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