Climate change adaptation processes Regional and sectoral stakeholder perspectives

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: This thesis analyses how societal adaptation processes in public and private sectors at the regional to local level in Sweden are enacted. The thesis pays particular attention to critical factors that constrain or enable adaptation by focussing on: who are the stakeholders, how do different stakeholders perceive their capacity to adapt, and the role of stakeholder interaction in facilitating adaptation processes A combination of two analytical perspectives is used where one is based on key concepts within adaptation literature, and the other draws on boundary crossing and transdisciplinary knowledge production (stakeholders, adaptive capacity, and science-based stakeholder dialogues). The study is conducted within the scope of two overall case studies of local adaptation processes within an urban region, and a land-use based sector, the private forestry sector. The cases are setting the scene for the collection of empirical material which is achieved through qualitative methods, primarily focus groups discussions with local and regional, public and private stakeholders with an interest in, and responsibility for adaptation. The focus groups meetings are organized as a series of meetings to which different participatory techniques are applied. The study also builds on a comprehensive stakeholder mapping. First, the results suggest a systematic method for identifying stakeholders in adaptation research, policy, and planning applicable in both sectors and regions that combines top-down knowledge with experience and knowledge based on bottom-up processes. Second, the analysis of perceived adaptive capacities reveal several facilitating and constraining factors that relates both to the characteristics of climate risks, experience of climate variability and extreme weather events, and responsibility- and decision-making structures. Third, the analysis of the interaction between local experts and scientists show that there is potential for the boundary spanning function of science-based stakeholder dialogues in facilitating adaptation through stimulating questions and sharing different knowledge bases and experiences among the participants. However further attention needs to be taken to the institutional environment and the role of so called anchoring devices that help local experts to contextualise, discus and thus anchor scientific knowledge in their own decision-making context. In conclusion, there are both commonalities between adaptation processes in the two case studies and some marked differences, e.g., regarding the concept of adaptation, what type of adaptation actions that are identified, the perceived opportunities for adaptation and degree of complexity.