Understanding the need for adaptation in a natural resource dependent community in Northern Norway: Issue
salience, knowledge and values


For society to effectively manage climate change impacts, the need to adapt must be recognized. At the same time there is a disconnect between knowledge and action on climate change. The salience of adaptation to climate change may be a precondition for action, but this issue has so far been neglected in the adaptation literature. This indicates a missing link between perception, values and world-views, on one side, and policy formation on the other. The article analyses how actors in three occupational groups in a natural resource dependent community in northern Norway perceive and respond to changes in weather and resource conditions, as well as projections for future climate. The results indicate that the need to adapt is perceived differently, if at all, amongst different actors. By drawing on concepts from governance literatures and cultural theory of risks (CTR), the paper seeks to explain this divergence in perceptions and responses amongst different actors, which can help policy-makers understand when and why autonomous actors are willing to adapt. We find that adaptation to climate change cannot readily be expected among actors who fit the individualist category of CTR, who do not directly utilize scientific knowledge when in their work.