New study finds science communication important for promoting climate change adaptation

First results from a survey of 6000 Swedish forest owners shows that science communication can improve knowledge about the risks of climate change and heighten sense of urgency to take actions.

Between August 25 and 27, the Third Nordic Adaptation Conference was held in Copenhagen. The aim of this conference was to advance existing common ground between scientists, adaptation practitioners and decision-makers and to establish new ways forward for informed adaptation.

Researchers from Mistra-SWECIA were represented in several seminars and presented research on results from studies of science communication, strategies in forestry related to weather extremes and experiences from science-stakeholder cooperation.

Gregor Vulturius from SEI presented first preliminary results from a survey amongst 6000 Swedish forest owners. This study examines the question how effective science communication is in promoting climate change adaptation. More and more governments and researchers around the world turn to science communication to disseminate their knowledge about climate change and to promote adaptation. To assess the effectiveness of science communication in promoting adaptation, Vulturius and his colleagues compared the views of forest owners who did and those who did not participate in workshops about adaptation organized by the Swedish Forestry Agency.

Results from the survey suggest that science communication does have little effect on the perception of climate change risks, but that it can improve people´s estimates of their own capacity and knowledge to adapt to climate change. Importantly, the study shows that forest owners that had participated in the workshops felt a greater sense of the urgency and readiness to take action to mitigate climatic risks. Findings also highlighted that communication and stakeholder engagement is an indispensable process for building trust in climate science. Results from this study support findings in an earlier Mistra-SWECIA study: Transformative Learning and Engagement with Climate Change Adaptation: Experiences with Sweden’s Forestry Sector

Other Mistra-SWECIA related presentations during the conference “Adapting to Change: From Research to Decision-making”:
Effective climate change risk communication - Kristina Blennow
Taking science-stakeholder cooperation one step further: Experiences from the Swedish forest sector - Susanna Bruzell
Decisions and strategies in forestry related to weather extremes and climate change - Fredrik Lagergren
A changing climate for business - Maria Larsson
Mistra-SWECIAs Markku Rummukainen took part in panel discussions during the conference.

Read more about the conference Adapting to Change: From Research to Decision-makin