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Adaptation has been increasingly promoted as a key strategy for reducing risk and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Yet what qualifies as successful adaptation when the impacts are the result of human activities? Who decides the future to which we must adapt? In this talk, Karen O'Brien distinguished between technical problems and adaptive challenges and discuss why successful adaptation to climate change will only be realized through social transformations. The talk drew on research from the AdaptationCONNECTS project, which focuses on the role of creativity, collaboration, empowerment and flexibility in realizing adaptation through transformation.
Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. She is interested in integral approaches to understanding and addressing global environmental challenges. Karen’s current research focuses on the relationships between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability. She is the co-founder of cCHANGE.no, an organization that provides perspectives on transformation in a changing climate.