Unlike the issue of climate change mitigation, discussions about climate adaptation are still in their infancy in most national policy debates. The most popular approach has been to mainstream climate adaptation into sectoral policies, thus relying on an ‘upscaling’ model in which lessons learned from local change processes are used to inform decision-making at higher administrative levels. This political approach necessitates a dialogue between policy makers designing regulatory policy (principally concerned with drawing generalised conclusions based on local lessons) and professionals engaged in research projects examining examples of community-based climate adaptation in different contexts.

This situation prompts researchers and other professionals involved in discrete case studies of local climate adaptation to consider how best to use their data, experiences and insights to inform policy:

  • How do local climate adaptation lessons become relevant for public policy?
  • What are the opportunities and risks involved in exploiting local case studies for climate adaptation policy making?
  • How do research projects navigate the many expectations and demands from the clients of policy in order to make their contributions relevant?

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Swedish Foundation for Environmental Research (Mistra) through the Swedish Research Programme on Climate, Impacts and Adaptation (Mistra-SWECIA) Programme.

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