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Sustainable Distribution of Responsibility for Climate Change Adaptation

The project runs from 2019 to 2022 and is funded by The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).

Climate change adaptation needs some distribution of responsibility This is the case on a global level, for instance between developed and developing countries and between generations. It is also the case on local and regional levels, for example between public and private actors. In this project, we focus on the local and regional levels. To gain legitimacy for adaptation decisions, the distribution of responsibility needs to be grounded in theories of just distribution and what those affected by decisions see as just.

The purpose of this project is to contribute to a sustainable spatial planning and the ability of local and regional public authorities, to make well-informed and sustainable adaptation decisions, based on knowledge about both climate change impacts and the perceptions of residents and civil servants on what constitutes a sustainable distribution of responsibility.

Our aims are:

  • A better understanding of the practical implications of theories about just distribution of responsibility for the choice of climate adaptation measures locally and regionally.
  • Knowledge about what residents and civil servants consider a sustainable distribution of responsibility for climate adaptation measures.
  • A better understanding of conflicts concerning the distribution of responsibilities and systematic knowledge about the possibilities to manage them.

In this inter-disciplinary project, we study six municipalities and their residents, and two County Administrative Boards in Sweden, using mixed-methods: value theory, document studies, interviews, focus groups and surveys. Aim (1) and (3) will generate knowledge, applicable to a wider set of geographical areas and sustainable spatial planning issues.

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Researchers in the project

Åsa Knaggård
PhD and Principal Investigator
Department of Political Science, Lund University,

Kerstin Eriksson
PhD, Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)

Erik Persson
PhD, Department of Philosophy, Lund University