We were driven initially to write this Commentary by a sense of exhilaration and exasperation. The exhilaration came from the opportunity to address global issues of climate change through adaptation at the local level, an issue that will be addressed in Copenhagen in December 2009. The sense of exasperation came from an increasingly populist but determinist universalising geography that was determinist in both a physical/biological sense but also in a social sense. This produced an email exchange in the early summer of 2009, largely across radicals in Anglo American Geography in which we attempted to summarise a critique in six major points. In late summer we submitted this to Area, when we received strong encouragement but substantial and valuable criticism.