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Rural households in a changing climate

This paper argues that climate change poses two distinct sets of challenges for poor rural households: challenges related to the increasing frequency and severity of weather shocks; and challenges related to long-term shifts in temperature, rainfall patterns, water availability and other environmental factors. Within this framework, the paper examines evidence from existing empirical literature to compose an initial picture of household-level strategies for adapting to climate change in rural settings. The paper finds that although households possess numerous strategies for managing climate shocks and shifts, their adaptive capacity is insufficient for the task of maintaining household welfare. It also describes the role of public policy in fortifying the ability of rural households to adapt to a changing climate.