Research Workshop "Barriers to Adaptation to Climate Change”

Berlin, September 18th-21st, 2012

Workshop program (pdf, 123 KB)

From 18th until 21st September 2012 the international Chameleon Research Workshop on “Barriers to Adaptation to Climate Change” was held in Berlin. In total 33 researchers from 10 different countries (US, India, Australia, Europe) participated, as well as international representatives from industry and politics. Central questions of the workshop were: How can barriers to adaptation be conceptualized and analyzed? How do barriers differ between actors and scales? Which political, institutional and organizational strategies are suitable to overcome these barriers?

Impacts of climate change are expected with high certainty and render adaptation a crucial task for society. Yet, the implementation of adaptation strategies does only slowly proceed in the different sectors and societal fields of action so far; limits and barriers are becoming visible in this process. Such barriers, limits and constraints are increasingly discussed within the scientific community on adaptation to climate change. Empirical and theoretical research is currently being undertaken in multiple studies and disciplines. Furthermore the issue of “Barriers, Constraints and Limits of Adaptation” will play a significant role in the next IPCC report.

The goal of the workshop was to enhance both exchange on current approaches and results, and synthesis of current knowledge from diverse disciplinary research streams. Furthermore further research needs were to be identified.

The experienced adaptation researchers Frans Berkhout, Stéphane Hallegatte, Richard J.T. Klein, Susanne Moser, Matthias Ruth and Katrien Termeer contributed to the concept prior to the workshop and gave important impetus with their keynote speeches. In their speeches they focused besides others on the limits of adaptation, decision making under uncertainty and the role of mitigation for adaptation.

On the first day of the workshop, the participants presented their work and results in parallel sessions. The topics of the diverse sessions were, besides others, barriers to municipal adaptation, institutional and organizational barriers, and frameworks to analyze barriers (see program).

On the second day, four working groups brought together and discussed the insights from the previous day. Two groups each focused on empirical or conceptual approaches, respectively.

On 21st September the workshop closed with a panel discussion with practitioners from business and politics, who gave insights on their experience with adaptation processes. The speakers were Dr. Hans-Martin Füssel (EEA), Annett Möhner (UNFCCC), Andrea Prutsch (Environmental Agency Austria), Dr. Heike Stock (Berlin Senate), Dr. Mingyi Wang (GdV).

Subsequent to the workshop different publications and other follow-up activities will be initiated.

The Chameleon Research Group thanks all participants for the inspiring discussions and the very open-minded and cooperative atmosphere.