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Arctic Survey on Adaptation to Climate Change


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Type of project
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Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Culture & history

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Science / project summary

This grant will obtain interview survey data from development planners in Arctic municipalities of Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Russia. It continues a survey that was begun under an existing grant (funded as ARC-0909191). The work to date has resulted in survey responses and interviews from 51 municipalities. The goal is to obtain an additional 50 to 75 interviews from the remaining municipalities in Sweden, Finland, Russia and northernmost Norway. The research is directed at how municipalities are adapting to climate change within their goals and strategies for development. The purpose of selecting high latitude municipalities in Europe as a study area is to obtain a sample of municipalities where climate change has been measurable and experienced for several decades and where governments assign development planning responsibility to local municipality officials. The project is designed to add knowledge about economic development in remote rural regions, a common challenge throughout the world, but with the added dimension in high latitude areas of remoteness joined by early measurable effects of climate change to make this challenge even greater. To learn how local communities are adapting to the early effects of climate change in their vicinity, this project compares data on economic and social indicators and is conducting a survey of municipal planners in municipalities above 65N in northwest Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Data on climate change experiences and problems or opportunities resulting from these experiences will be compared to municipal adaptation strategies and plans as part of their economic and community development programs. The climate change and adaptation data will be compared to economic and demographic measures and trends across the set of municipalities to understand how they vary in their approach to adaptation and how this compares to levels of development among the municipalities. This is the only systematic survey of Arctic municipalities aimed at climate change experience and adaptation on a broad regional and international scale. It will provide a basis for comparative analysis of contemporary climate impacts and of municipal responses and adaptive planning. It will also provide a baseline for future comparisons as climate change effects continue. Development planners in all rural areas have a direct responsibility to look for opportunities to maintain and improve the economic, social and cultural aspects of life in their municipalities. They work in the context of changing political, economic, demographic, and other factors influenced by both local and international forces. Climate change is now part of this changing environment and it affects both opportunities and limitations of existing and potential economic development. Knowledge of local effects of climate change can best be learned from the people involved in each municipality. Some generalizations can be made as impacts of climate cross boundaries, but adaptation to these will differ according to the innovativeness and local characteristics of each municipality. This project will discover and compare both the early effects of climate change and the responses, ideas, adaptive measures, and future plans that can be associated with geographic setting, local economy, and many other characteristics of municipalities within the Arctic region. Results of this project will help demonstrate adaptive needs and methods that may be applicable to lower latitude communities where climate change is now beginning to cause concerns for its effects on future economic and social conditions. PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval). Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site. Johansen, H.E. and E. Skryzhevska. "Adaptation priorities on Russia's Kola Peninsula: climate change vs. post- Soviet transition," Polar Geography, v.2013, 2013, p. 1 - 20. doi:1088-937X (Print), 1939-0513 (Online)