Dr Lisa Schipper

Environmental Social Science Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute


Dr Lisa Schipper explores the interlinkages between climate change and human development.

By examining how development affects the extent to which people are likely to be affected by climate change, she seeks to address the question of whether fair and just development is possible in a changing climate. Dr Schipper focuses on what causes people to be vulnerable to climate change in developing countries, and the barriers and enablers for people to adapt to the changes in climate.

Dr Schipper is currently Co-ordinating Lead Author of Chapter 18 of the Working Group 2 contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (‘Climate Resilient Development Pathways’). 

She is particularly interested in socio-cultural dimensions of vulnerability, including gender, culture and religion, as well as structural issues related to power, justice and equity. She has lived and worked in Central and South America, East Africa and South and Southeast Asia.

Dr Schipper's research has shown how understanding socio-cultural and other underlying development factors that drive vulnerability to climate change is vital for identifying the most effective adaptation strategies, but that this knowledge is rarely present in adaptation planning. Recent work (Eriksen et al., 2021) shows how adaptation strategies can end up making people more, rather than less, vulnerable. Other work focuses on the complexities of understanding maladaptation (Schipper, 2020; Magnan et al., 2020) and explores the challenges that remain with respect to understanding how to connect climate change and development (Schipper, Eriksen et al., 2020; Schipper, Tanner et al., 2020).

She has also explored the way in which religious belief influences people's perceptions of hazards and willingness to take action (Schipper, 2010; Schipper et al., 2014; Schipper, 2015).

These findings underscore that in order to achieve climate resilient development, funding agencies, development actors and climate policy makers need to engage more with what drives vulnerability to climate change.