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1 Climate Change and Local Communities Grete Kaare Hovelsrud Research Director, CICERO AAAS 30 October 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Climate Change and Local Communities Grete Kaare Hovelsrud Research Director, CICERO AAAS 30 October 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Climate Change and Local Communities Grete Kaare Hovelsrud Research Director, CICERO AAAS 30 October 2007

2 2 Topic of today Why adaptation Why local Why the polar region – IPY 2007-2008 CAVIAR - Research considerations and challenges Preliminary results from case studies

3 3 CICERO – Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo ( At a glance) An independent research center associated with the University of Oslo Founded in 1990 by the Norwegian government as a private foundation Twofold mandate: to both conduct research and provide information about issues of climate change

4 4 Research Areas at CICERO 1. Atmospheric and economic effects of emissions 2. International climate agreements: Design, implementation and costs 3. Impacts of climate change: Vulnerability, adaptation and costs 4. Climate policy: Instruments for national implementation

5 5 IPY The International Polar Year 2007/2008 1. Current Status of Polar Regions 2. Change in the Polar Regions 3. Global Linkages 4. New Frontiers 5. Polar Regions as Vantage Points 6. The Human Dimension

6 6 The Polar Regions Active, highly connected components of the planet and the Earth system Hold unique information on past behavior of the Earth system – revealing that change is the norm Significant anthropogenically driven changes are occurring – impacting ecosystems and communities Remote and harsh, both Polar regions are insufficiently sampled to fully understand what is happening and how There is a need to enhance observing systems and activity – long- and short- term

7 7 IPY and Societal Benefits I Developing new knowledge Enhancing the systems observing change Understanding natural and human processes Improving weather information, forecasting, and warnings Improving predictions of climate variability and change

8 8 IPY and Societal Benefits II Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters Establishing how to mitigate or adapt to environmental factors affecting human health and well being Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity Providing indigenous and local people with the tools and capabilities to tackle societal issues and build capacity

9 9 IPY and Societal Benefits III Improving the sustainable management of fisheries/ agriculture Improving the management of resources of water and energy Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems

10 10 Obvious but worth repeating! Both mitigation and adaptation are necessary Mitigation has global consequences Adaptation takes place locally

11 11 Also Obvious? Adaptation takes place locally, but is connected to regional, national and international events and processes Adaptation takes place in the context of multiple stressors

12 12 General agreement among scientists that: Changes will pose significant challenges for communities Nature of risks poorly understood The most effective means of dealing with them poorly understood The particular conditions causing sensitivities not comprehensively documented The strategies employed and their effectiveness have not been assessed

13 13 ….. and that: The conditions that facilitate or constrain the adaptive capacity or resilience have not been substantiated Local or indigenous knowledge has yet to be integrated with scientific knowledge to better understand how to deal with change Insights into sensitivities or vulnerabilities have not been compared across the Arctic Insights are not well connected to decision- making or policy development

14 14 CAVIAR-Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in the Arctic Regions An IPY 2007-2008 Consortium An interdisciplinary project All 8 Arctic nations involved Led by CICERO – Grete K. Hovelsrud & University of Guelph – Barry Smit An IPY 2007-2008 Consortium An interdisciplinary project All 8 Arctic nations involved Led by CICERO – Grete K. Hovelsrud & University of Guelph – Barry Smit

15 15 CAVIAR- Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in the Arctic Regions The historical context of change Local involvement in research design Local/traditional knowledge Scale (local, regional, national) Policy relevance Interdisciplinary approach Case studies

16 16 CAVIAR Builds on ACIA Lessons Rapid environmental and societal change Community focus important Community involvement in the research and management processes Arctic communities highly adaptable but more vulnerable than before in the face of the recent and rapid changes

17 17 What do we want to understand? How are communities vulnerable to climate change? How do they adapt? What are the critical thresholds of adaptability and resilience How well will the community adapt to future climate change?

18 18 We also want to understand How international social, cultural, economic and political processes have an impact on small communities in the Arctic How to enhance communities adaptive capacity What economic sectors are most vulnerable to climate change and at what scale

19 19 Indigenous knowledge and observations provide an important source of information about climate change. This knowledge, consistent with scientific research, indicates that substantial changes have already occurred.

20 20 Many indigenous peoples depend on hunting polar bear, walrus, seals, and caribou, herding reindeer, fishing, and gathering, not only for food and to support the local economy, but also as the basis for cultural and social identity

21 21 Alaska and Chukotka are Particularly at Risk Alaska and Chukotka are Particularly at Risk Many coastal communities face increasing exposure to storms Severe coastal erosion will be a growing problem as rising sea levels and a reduction in sea ice allow higher waves and storm surges to reach shore.

22 22 Nowadays the winters are much warmer than they used to be. Occasionally during winter time it rains. We never expected this; we could not be ready for this. It is very strange… The cycle of the yearly calendar has been disturbed greatly and this affects the reindeer herding negatively for sure…

23 23 Changes in species ranges, availability, and access; a perceived reduction in weather predictability, and travel safety in changing ice and weather conditions present serious challenges to human health, food security and cultural identity

24 24 CASE Study: Hammerfest 70°N

25 25 Adaptation in Hammerfest: local and international linkages Oil and gas Shipping Fisheries Security Infrastructure Socio-economy Housing Harbor pollution

26 26 Oil and Gas Development: The Local Context Has great economic benefits for local communities Poses challenges to the social cohesiveness and environmental sustainability of Hammerfest Must meet new challenges with further development

27 27 Oil and gas combined with the climate change context Increased sea surface and air temperature A reduction in the sea ice extent in the Arctic Opens up for more oil and gas exploration International security questions and access discussions Increases the need for further adaptation at the local level

28 28 Opening of the Northern Sea Route

29 29 Shipping: The Northern Sea Route Travel distance reduced with 40% - 12,000 $ US/day/ship Transitt transport from Russia: 8.1 Million tons in 2003 36 million in 2015 68 tankers per month along the Norwegian coast in 2015 Ships will have to deal with an expected increase in storm surges, wave heights and wind Icing on equipment, increasing sea level, environmental safety Effect local vulnerability Challenge for intl regulations Intl security issues

30 30 Offshore and coastal fisheries: opportunities and challenges Larger areas and improved conditions for cod and herring Increased growth rate for some species Mackerel moves north Blue whiting to the Barents Sea New species

31 31 Fisheries and Local Concerns: Climate Change Context Fishermen must adjust their activities shifts in technology as a result of new species new and changing fishing regulations Variable access to markets Out migration, lack of skilled young men and women Local knowledge of tides, winds, and sea conditions, have been replaced by navigational technologies (GPS, sonar devices)

32 32 Local Adaptation and Climate Change Major Complexities Both adaptation research and adaptation practise Fundamentally interdisciplinary – integration of the scientific disciplines and users Always the context of multiple stressors Research at different scales and across scales within a case and comparative place-based research - generalize about the adaptation processes

33 33 And more complexities Long term trends vs short term extreme events – how to study how to communicate Uncertainty in levels of data of impacts in adaptive capacity the rate of change type of knowledge needed to take adaptive action

34 34 Conclusions Adaption has not been on the political and scientific agenda This is reflected in lack of knowledge and lack of focus More and integrated knowledge is needed across scientific disciplines, between scientists and decision-makers and on the international arena Local focus and local involvement essential in adaptation studies Variation between sectors and different levels within a local community Local understanding is generalizable, and not simply case specific Transfer of practical knowledge Increase scientific knowledge base

35 35 I It is about people, their livelihoods and well-being It is about people, their livelihoods and well-being Thank you

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