Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation

-  a research area in focus at the Department of Environmental Science (a "Strategic Growth Area", SGA).



The climate challenge – a wicked problem

The warming of the climate system is unprecedented and it challenges humanity to respond like no problem before it. Climate change interferes with all areas of life on earth from the melting ice in the arctic impacting sensitive ecosystems to the increased incidences of flooding and heat spells in cities. The challenge is ‘wicked’ and has even been coined ‘super-wicked’ (Levin, Cashore, Bernstein, & Auld, 2012), characterized by i) lack of time to act; ii) those seeking to end the problem is also causing it; iii) lack of central effective authority; and iv) both policies and the public discount the future irrationally, by not acting on evidence of significant risks.

High complexity

The social and environmental complexity of the problem is enormous, and the scientific understanding of the problem is constantly evolving, making climate change policy a dynamic problem. Rising to the challenge involves behavior change among citizens, companies, public authorities etc., with all the difficulties that this poses to different target groups: attempts at regulation are characterized by chronic policy failure and difficulties to define the problem are evident across stakeholders. The responsibility for the climate challenge does not reside with any one organization, which makes this a problem that is cross governance, nationally and internationally.

SGA Climate

The overall research goal of the SGA for Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation is to develop the understanding and knowledge required in order to support a transition towards a climate resilient society, exempt of fossil fuels, and to do so in a socially acceptable way that is also cost-efficient.

The Department of Environmental Science (ENVS) has a strong expertise in cross-disciplinary research and data generation in the fields of quantification and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and scenarios of emissions; interactions between climate and air quality in the Northern Hemisphere; and political, sociological and economic transitions towards a post-carbon world. ENVS coordinates the Aarhus University Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change (iClimate) and this SGA is an integral part of the Centre.

Main research areas

You can read more about research and advisory areas where the SGA for Climate Change can contribute, through these links:

Examples of recent and ongoing projects

SINKS develops methods and emission inventories for the LULUCF sector. The project is funded by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and led by AU.

BASE: Bottom-up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe supports action for sustainable climate change adaptation in Europe by making experiences and scientific information about adaptation meaningful, transferable and easily accessible to decision-makers at all levels. Research was funded by EU FP7 and coordinated by AU.

Climate-Adapt: The European Climate Adaptation Portal shares information on adaptation across Europe. The Platform is an initiative of the European Commission.

NORDSTAR: Nordic Strategic Adaptation Research is a Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation aiming to develop tools to help the Nordic countries address the twin challenge of a warmer climate and the side effects of policy impacts. Research is funded by Nordforsk and coordinated by AU.

PoCaCiTo: Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow – foresight for sustainable pathways towards liveable, affordable and prospering cities in a word context facilitates the transition of EU cities to a forecasted sustainable or “post‐carbon” economic model, eventually leading to an evidence‐based EU 2050 post-carbon city roadmap. Research was funded by EU FP7. 

BONUS BalticAPP: Wellbeing from the Baltic Sea – applications combining natural science and economics investigates how the Baltic Sea will change in 100 years; how climate change affects the Baltic Sea and how we can sustain the valuable services that the sea provides us. Research is funded by BONUS.

Integrated planning of biogas aims to develop models and investigate the transport and health effects of different location scenarios for biogas plants in Denmark. Research is funded by DCE.    

ØKOKLIM: Ecosystem based approaches to climate adaptation – possibilities and conflicts in urban Areas investigates the prospects and conflicts of systematically applying an ecosystem based approach to climate adaptation in the municipality of Copenhagen. Research was funded by DCE.    

ØkoFORS: Ecosystem services, climate adaptation and nature quality in surburban landscapes uncovers the potential of surburban private landscapes to host a richer nature and ecosystem services.  Research was funded by DCE. 

PEER Climate Change Project 2: Climate Policy Integration, Coherence and Governance assesses the degree of climate policy integration in different EU countries and suggests means to enhance climate policy integration.