Dr.gradsavhandling: Agenda-setting the unknown: A study of local and regional governance of adaptation in Norway

Aalborg Universitetsforlag

Dr.gradsavhandling - Aalborg Universitet


As it is becoming increasingly apparent that climate change is inevitable, society will need to adapt to the impacts. The concept of climate change, and therefore also adaptation, relies on abstract climate science. This poses challenges for agenda-setting adaptation as a policy issue, when it has to compete with more immediate and familiar concerns. This thesis seeks to explain the emergence of adaptation to climate change governance at the local and regional levels in Norway. It builds on research conducted through several case studies carried out in nine municipalities and four counties in Norway between 2008 and 2014. The results are presented in four articles. The results show that adaptation to climate change is not readily seen as a salient issue in climate change sensitive sectors or in municipalities. By integrating insights from cultural theory, science and technology studies and agenda-setting theory, it is concluded that agenda-setting of climate change adaptation requires human agency in providing local legitimacy and salience for the issue. The thesis also finds that boundary arrangements are needed to bridge the gap between local knowledge and scientific knowledge for adaptation governance. Attempts at such boundary arrangements are already in place at the regional governance levels, but they must be strengthened if municipalities are to take further steps in implementing adaptation measures.