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Climate Adaption in Local Governance

A new study shows that strong leadership, large municipalities and prior experiences with climate change are key factors in implementing climate adaption strategies within Danish municipalities

Climate change and climate adaptation constitutes a key challenge for contemporary planning and politics in Denmark, since climate adaptation policy is formulated nationally, but implemented primarily at the municipal level. This challenge is being examined in a new study from the Danish Center for Environment and Energy (DCE). Here the point of departure is the ability for local governments to provide adequate policy responses to environmental stresses within local policy making and planning.

The results show that three factors are essential in overcoming the challenges. First and foremost is the political and executive leadership on the local level of high importance. This is due to the fact that immediate experiences with climate change - like flooding  - were promoted and placed high on local agendas and adaption issues were included in other policy areas, e.g. in urban planning. Secondly, the size of the municipality is important, since large municipalities have more experience in managing adaption towards climate change and more resources to invest and implement actions for adaption. Lastly, the level of prior experience with climate change counts in the decision of pushing climate adaption up in local policy agendas.

The study was conducted from 2012 to 2013 in collaboration with local politicians and municipal employees, and it is combining literature review, in-depth case studies of three municipalities and a survey among all Danish municipalities.

For more information please contact

Senior researcher Anne Jensen
Environmental Social Science
E-mail: aj@envs.au.dk
Telephone: +45 87158633

View the full report here