SEI in Swedish climate change adaptation programme

Written by Sturle Hauge Simonsen

Thursday, 12 July 2007 01:00

Preparation Begins At Home: The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) joins forces with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Stockholm University and Lund University in a new SEK 40 million programme aimed at improving Sweden's ability to adapt to climate change.

The Swedish Research Programme on Climate, Impacts and Adaptation (SWECIA) is financed by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA). SWECIA will develop a new interdisciplinary framework for the study of climate and social change.

As a crucial part of SWECIA, SEI will investigate factors that influence people's decisions to prepare or not to prepare for future climate risks. This will involve analysis of people's perceptions of risk, and of how information on the consequences of climate change promotes individual and collective learning.

Designing effective strategies
Results of SWECIA are expected to help planners and policymakers in designing more effective strategies to reduce the vulnerability of Swedish citizens and firms to climate change, and to integrate climate concerns into day-to-day decision-making.

SWECIA will initially focus its research on adaptation in the Stockholm region and in the Swedish energy sector. More case studies are expected in later stages of the programme.

Richard Klein, Senior Research Fellow and Co-ordinator of Climate Policy Research at SEI, will lead the SEI contribution to the programme.

- Climate change in Sweden may not be a matter of life and death as it is in Africa or other parts of the world, but preparing for it is still important to ensure a continued high quality of life, profitability of economic sectors and security from floods, storms and other climate risks, he says.

Wealth no safety from preventing disaster
- SWECIA is a unique programme. It brings together the top experts in climate science, ecology, economics and policy analysis in Sweden to address an increasingly urgent issue, Klein says.

- As Hurricane Katrina has shown, rich countries with access to the best science and technology can still be ill-prepared when disaster strikes. The Central European floods of 2002 and the European heat-wave of 2003 showed that successful preparation and adaptation cannot be taken for granted, even in the most developed societies.