What drives sustainable climate change adaptation at the local level? Approaching three knowledge gaps

April 2024
Wiley online Library
Sustainable Developement

This paper investigates three gaps in climate change adaptation research: the drivers of sustainable adaptation efforts, the role of multilevel governance, and how challenges differ by municipality size. Analyzing data from three surveys across Norwegian municipalities and counties, pooling 668 responses, the study statistically assesses drivers of adaptation efforts in 146 municipalities. Key findings show that factors such as political awareness, risk perception, stakeholder collaboration, and municipality size significantly influence adaptation efforts, with effectiveness depending on the conceptualization of adaptation. Political and stakeholder support is essential for mainstreaming, monitoring, and implementing adaptation measures, but not for promoting sustainabilty. This shows that local administrations are free to choose sustainable CCA, but that the quality of participatory processes should be scrutinized. The study also highlights that regional support is crucial for smaller municipalities, and that the intensity of regional engagement is more important than the support method.