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Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 256-275; doi:10.3390/su5010256

New Levels of Climate Adaptation Policy: Analyzing the Institutional Interplay in the Baltic Sea Region

1,*  and 2,3
1 Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR)/Department of Thematic Studies, Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University, Norrköping, SE-601 74, Sweden 2 Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Aalto University, Helsinki, FI-00076, Finland 3 Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FI.00014, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 18 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
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International policy development and expected climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides, and the extinction of sensitive species have forced countries around the Baltic Sea to begin working on national climate adaptation policies. Simultaneously, the EU is building both a central and a macro-regional Baltic Sea-wide adaptation strategy to support national policy developments. However, it yet remains unclear how these EU strategies will complement each other or national policies. This article analyzes the constraints and opportunities presented by this new institutional interplay and discusses the potential of the forthcoming EU strategies to support national policy. It does so by mapping how adaptation is institutionalized in two case countries, Sweden and Finland, and is organized in the two EU approaches. The vertical institutional interplay between scales is analyzed in terms of three factors: competence, capacity, and compatibility. Results indicate institutional constraints related to: risks of policy complexity for sub-national actors, an unclear relationship between the two EU approaches, an overly general approach to targeting contextualized climate change vulnerabilities, and a general lack of strategies to steer adaptation. However, there are also opportunities linked to an anticipated increased commitment to the national management of adaptation, especially related to biodiversity issues.
Keywords: adaptation; Baltic Sea Region; climate change; EU; institutional interplay adaptation; Baltic Sea Region; climate change; EU; institutional interplay
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Glaas, E.; Juhola, S. New Levels of Climate Adaptation Policy: Analyzing the Institutional Interplay in the Baltic Sea Region. Sustainability 2013, 5, 256-275.

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