Wamsler and Brink_2014_Planning for Climatic Extremes and Variability(1)(1).pdf - Sustainability 2014 6 1359-1385 doi:10.3390/su6031359 OPEN ACCESS

Wamsler and Brink_2014_Planning for Climatic Extremes and Variability(1)(1).pdf

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Sustainability 2014 , 6 , 1359-1385; doi:10.3390/su6031359 sustainability ISSN 2071-1050 Article Planning for Climatic Extremes and Variability: A Review of Swedish M unicipalities’ Adaptation Responses Christine Wamsler * and Ebba Brink Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS); P.O. Box 170, Lund SE-221 00, Sweden; E-Mail: [email protected] * Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: [email protected]; Tel.: +46-046-222-8080. Received: 21 January 2014; in revised form: 21 February 2014 / Accepted: 25 February 2014 / Published: 14 March 2014 Abstract: Climate change poses a serious challenge to sustainable urban development worldwide. In Sweden, climate change work at the city level emerged in 1996 and has long had a focus on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. City planners’ “ adaptation turn is recent and still ongoing. This paper presents a meta-evaluation of Swedish municipal adaptation approaches, and how they relate to institutional structures at different levels. The results show that although increasing efforts are being put into the identification of barriers to adaptation planning, in contrast, there is little assessment or systematization of the actual adaptation measures and mainstreaming strategies taken. On this basis, opportunities for advancing a more comprehensive approach to sustainable adaptation planning at both the local and institutional level are discussed. Keywords: Sweden; adaptation; climate change; climate resilience; institutional transformation; sustainability; sustainable urban development 1. Introduction Climate change poses a serious challenge to sustainable urban development worldwide, and Sweden is no exception. According to the Swedish Committee on Climate and Vulnerability, Sweden will face an increasing number of hazards due to changes in both climate means and variability [1]. Climate models project significant changes in (extreme and average) precipitation, windstorms and temperature, which are expected to result in an increased frequency or severity of floods, landslides, OPEN ACCESS
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Sustainability 2014 , 6 1360 fires, energy outages, water scarcity and diseases [1 5]. These will ultimately create unusual conditions that are outside societies’ past experience. Developing ways to build resilience to such conditions is an urgent task. In Sweden, climate change work at the city level began in 1996 in a tangible way as part of initial moves to implement Local Agenda 21 (LA21). In 1997, stimulated by the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent national grants, climate change started to become a more explicit part of municipal policies, but with a focus on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions [6]. During 2005 2006, the adaptation turn slowly emerged, triggered by extreme weather events and changing international perceptions [1,6 11]. Adaptation received further impetus in 2007 with the publication of a national government report on expected climate change impacts [1].
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