Changing climates are outpacing some components of our food systems. Risk assessments need to account for these rates of change. Assessing risk transmission mechanisms across sectors and international boundaries and coordinating policies across governments are key steps in addressing this challenge.

Society's response to climate change is inevitably mediated by culture. In a Review Article that analyses important new research from across the social sciences, climate change is shown to threaten important cultural dimensions of people's lives and livelihoods — including material and lived aspects of culture, identity, community cohesion and sense of place.

Risks from extreme weather events are mediated through state, civil society and individual action. We propose evolving social contracts as a primary mechanism by which adaptation to climate change proceeds. We use a natural experiment of policy and social contexts of the UK and Ireland affected by the same meteorological event and resultant flooding in November 2009. We analyse data from policy documents and from household surveys of 356 residents in western Ireland and northwest England.

Markets for ecosystem services are being promoted across the developing world, amidst claims that the provision of economic incentives is vital to bring about resource conservation. This article argues that equity and legitimacy are also critical dimensions in the design and implementation of such markets, if social development goals beyond economic gains are to be achieved. The article examines this issue by focusing on two communities involved in a project for carbon sequestration services of forests in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.