Policy making on an uncertain climate: adaptation to climate change by local governments

Maya Marieke van den Berg

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    281 Downloads (Pure)


    The ageless human practice of adapting to environmental circumstances and coping with extreme weather is currently being challenged as the once accepted norms of climate and changing markedly. There is a crucial role for local governments to play in the process of adapting our systems to a changing climate as they represent those places where the impacts will be felt most. They will be responsible also for many of the policy areas that can make the local level more resilient to climate change. This thesis is based on the premise that adaptation should be included into the current local policy process to ensure that the quality of the environment is maintained. However, our insights into how adaptation is actually being shaped on the ground are still very limited. The aim of the research is to help address this problem by pursuing a bottom-up approach and by examining the local responses to climate change within their local context. The thesis includes a policy study into the governance aspects of adaptation to climage change. It examines how local level government in the Netherlands are anticipating climage change impacts through policy making on adaptation. In doing so, it attempts to understand why adaptation is taken up by local governments and how the level of observed action should be interpreted. The research focuses on the Netherlands, but also compares the Dutch context with the situation in Sweden and Norway, as well as with comparable studies in other national contexts. The main general conclusions to emerge are: (1) the importance of the local context for how adaptation is taken up (2) the importance of committed individuals to progress adaptation further (3) a strong dominance of urban adaptation (4) a perceived need for national coordination (5) the importance of regional pioneering (6) the sectoral approach to adaptation, and (7) the inclusion of most current adaptation policy into existing policy and practices, whilst only to a limited extent do people perceive a need for new local policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Bressers, Hans T.A., Supervisor
    • Coenen, Frans H.J.M., Co-Supervisor
    Award date18 Dec 2013
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-1252-7
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2013


    • IR-88191
    • METIS-299499


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