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Richard J. T. Klein

Senior Research Fellow

Richard J.T. Klein

Richard J.T. Klein is a Senior Research Fellow at SEI. Richard is based in Bonn, Germany.

He is an internationally leading expert on the science and policy of adaptation to climate change, with 30 years of experience in original research, science assessment and policy advice. Much of his recent work has addressed the role of adaptation in the design and implementation of a global climate policy agreement, but he also studies societal and institutional challenges to adaptation and the alignment of adaptation with other policy priorities. He sees adaptation as a global challenge and was one of the architects of Adaptation Without Borders—a global partnership working to strengthen systemic resilience to cross-border climate impacts.

Throughout his career, he has led a range of large international collaborative research and capacity-building projects and programmes, and advised governments, international agencies, civil-society organisations and private firms. He has published widely in top academic journals and is one of the world’s most cited experts in his field. In 2016, he received the prestigious Burtoni Award in recognition of his work on climate adaptation.

Richard joined SEI in 2006 to develop its research strategy on climate change and coordinate its implementation. He was visiting professor of geography, climate policy and development at Linköping University from 2011 to 2023. Based in Bonn since 2016 to strengthen SEI’s visibility and impact in Germany, he continues to pursue partnerships with research organisations, policy stakeholders and funders. Richard was Team Leader: International Climate Risk and Adaptation from 2021 to 2024.

He founded the pioneering academic journal Climate and Development, which first appeared in 2009 and of which he was editor-in-chief for ten years. He has been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1994 (including three times as lead author and three times as coordinating lead author) and was co-director and chief scientist of the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR) in 2011–2016. In 2018–2019, he was director of science and innovation of the newly established Global Center on Adaptation and co-director of research of the Global Commission on Adaptation. During those years he also served as co-chair of the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Programme.

Before joining SEI, he spent almost eight years at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He began his career at the Institute for Environmental Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1992. In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of Kiel.

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