Climate change is a complicated social problem. Formulating and implementing adaptation measures at the local level entails handling value conflicts, power relations, governance, equity, resource allocation, competing interests and, connected to all these issues and more, uncertainty. All this takes place in a complex context where a multitude of factors, and actors representing different societal interests, are interacting both facilitating and hindering effective action and involves changes in modes of operation in society as a whole.
Adaptation range from the local to the large, its time horizon can range from the short to the long terms, it can be tactical or strategic, it can seek immediate, delayed, or cumulative effects, and it can encompass widely differing outcomes.
Accordingly, formulating adaptation responses is a challenging issue for municipalities for a number of reasons. Firstly, the large range of possible climate change impacts. Secondly, the insufficient knowledge base. Thirdly, the lack of consensus on responsibilities. Fourthly, the usual set of problems facing public policy of this sort. In this paper we will focus adaptation measures implemented by Swedish municipalities. The empirical material consists of studies from state authorities of municipal adaptation to climate change.
NORKOM 2012, Oslo 22.-24. november 2012