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Climate and risk adaptation
How do local communities manage to prevent natural events, such as landslides and avalanche, which can cause damage to people, buildings and other infrastructure? How do the authorities work with climate risk and adaptation? Social scientists can evaluate how national, regional and local authorities work to reduce risk and prevent undesirable natural events. We can also investigate how this work is organised and funded.
Norway has a Climate Act, a Planning and Building Act, national regulations for regional and municipal planning (SF), as well as national guidelines for climate & energy planning and climate adaptation (SPR), which provide a formal framework for community planning. Maps are also important tools, both to describe the current territory organisation and to define management priorities. Natural and human environments must be mapped to identify risks of undesirable events, while taking into account future evolution in relation with climate change.
The national report on climate adaption for infrastructure management1 contains serious criticism related to the lack of mapping and overview to secure Norwegian buildings and other infrastructure. We can contribute to this objective to include avalanche and landslide risk analysis in municipal and regional management and transport plan (roads, railways and ports), and assist the expert knowledge transfer to the authorities. Risk mitigation measures, such as snow protection fens (Figure 10), must be integrated in the work for adaption to the future climate, at local, regional and national scales.
Example of avalanche fens to protect buildings in Hammerfest (Picture: Tom Erik Ness)
We can also contribute to mobilize and disseminate the knowledge to stakeholders through co-creation arenas. In recent years, NORCE, together with several partners have organised the Klimathon, with a focus on climate adaption in Norwegian municipalities. Klimathon is a hackathon-inspired event and brings together participants from municipalities, counties, State, voluntary organization, private companies and research institutes. All partners bring with their own knowledge sets and contribute to solve specific tasks about climate adaption, through group discussion and exchange of ideas.