Project 4: The process of adaptation to climate change

Project 4 is aimed at improving our knowledge of what makes people and organizations adapt successfully, and how they could overcome possible barriers to successful adaptation. The project starts from the premise that the results of climate and impact models, whilst effective in raising stakeholders' awareness of the need to act, are insufficient to inform adaptation decisions. If they are to be used effectively, model results must be complemented by an understanding of how stakeholders make decisions. Project 4 therefore analyses the process of adaptation: it conducts research on adaptation, which contributes to and complements the research for adaptation carried out in Projects 1, 2 and 3. Its results will provide insights into how best to promote adaptation through information and policy.

The effort includes an analysis of stakeholders' perceptions of climate risk and uncertainty, and their use of climate information. It also includes research on the opportunities and motivations for stakeholders to engage in a process of social learning leading to successful adaptation. In addition, the role of policy in facilitating adaptation is investigated, as well as the respective roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved in adaptation.

Project 4 consists of three work packages

  • Work Package 4.1 maps the institutional and decision-making landscape in the case study regions and sectors of Mistra SWECIA. It identifies the relevant stakeholders involved in facilitating and implementing adaptation to climate risks. Engagement with these stakeholders then serves to identify their perceptions of climate risks and adaptation needs. Climate and impact scenarios developed in the other Mistra SWECIA projects are presented in focus groups, and opportunities for action are discussed, including the priority stakeholders attach to climate adaptation compared to other decisions they have to make. Results of this research provide a basis for further analysis and dialogue in Work Packages 4.2 and 4.3.
  • Work Package 4.2 explores how social learning on adaptation to climate change increases the adaptive capacity of stakeholders, and what the implications of the complex, unbounded problem structure of climate change is for such learning. In so doing, an analysis is made of what conditions facilitate social learning on adaptation. Results of this research will help to explain how social learning on adaptation happens and what effect it has on stakeholders' perceptions of climate risks and adaptation needs.
  • Work Package 4.3 investigates the current preparedness and ability of government and private stakeholders to incorporate climate adaptation in their day-to-day and longer-term policies and strategies. In addition, it analyses to what institutional, cultural and policy factors differences in social learning and adaptive capacity can be attributed. The work package identifies barriers and opportunities for integrating climate adaptation into economic sectors, and explores the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in removing the barriers and seizing the opportunities, thus promoting such integration.