The project will investigate the preconditions for societal transformation required to respond to projected climate change consequences. The results recently presented in the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make it clear that the climate risks call for transformative changes in society that go beyond incremental adaptation and mitigation measures.

Primary industries (fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, reindeer herding) make ideal test cases for investigating the preconditions for transformation. Our results show that these sectors are exposed and sensitive to impacts of climate change on the resources and to mitigation policies regulating the emission of their activities. An increasingly widening gap between the abundance of scientific knowledge about climate change and the commitment to deal with the challenges is identified. But studies show that lack of climate change action is caused by a lack of policy and not lack of knowledge.

The risks various actors associate with climate change determine the degree to which they acccept policy action or even want to instigate change themselves. This is the starting point for this project.  Perceptions of risks and need to act on the basis of scientific knowledge hinge on whether scientific knowledge is viewd as salient, credible and legitimate, on individuals risk perception, values and livelihood; norms and structures of relevant organizations.

The project will investigate the interplay between the local and national levels in providing salience to the climate issue. We surmise that perceptions of risk shape the observed inertia to respond to the overwhelming evidence of climate risks. That the inertiais found across scales and agents of change lead us to combine insights from cultural theories of risk (CTR), organizational theory of the sectors and governance science and technology (STS).

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Research Professor and Reaserch Leader