Adaptation and Social Learning (ASL)

Research line leader: Jochen Hinkel

Goal of the process

Gain an in-depth understanding of the drivers, social processes and formal & informal institutions that enable or hinder climate adaptation and social transformations, and co-develop, together with stakeholders, desirable, efficient and robust adaptation strategies in face of deep uncertainty about climate change.

Major findings

  • Climate change adaptation is a continuous learning process involving actors and organizations at all levels. In many cases this involves overcoming social dilemmas through collective action (Bisaro and Hinkel 2016). 
  • Despite the large uncertainty about sea-level rise, long-term decisions can be improved by applying decision analytical methods that take into account future learning about sea-level rise (e.g. real-option analysis, adaptation pathway analysis) (Hinkel et al. 2019).
  • Adapting to 21st century sea-level rise is, for most places, technically feasible, and for about 90% of the coastal population this is much cheaper than retreating from the coast. However, for the remaining 10%, comprising rural and poorer areas, adaptation costs are very high relative to local GDP and cannot be met without national transfers and international support (Lincke and Hinkel 2018, 2021).
  • Governing coastal adaptation is a political process that raises distributive conflicts. Powerful actors can capture these processes following their political and/or economic interests, potentially undermining adaptation outcomes (Gussmann and Hinkel 2021).

Current projects

ACCREU – Assessing Climate Change Risk in Europe

CoCliCo – Coastal Climate Core Service

CONMAR – Governance and management of marine munition in the German North and Baltic Sea

CREATE – Concepts for reducing the impacts of anthropogenic pressures and uses on marine ecosystems and biodiversity

DECIPHER – making framework and Processes for Holistic Evaluation of enviRonmental and climate policies

DIVA – The DIVA modelling framework

ECAS-Baltic – Ecosystem-supporting Coastal Adaptation Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Coast

OLAMUR – Offshore Low-trophic Aquaculture in Multi-Use scenario Realisation 

PROTECT – PROjecTing sEa-level rise: from iCe sheets to local implicaTions

REST-COAST – Large scale RESToration of COASTal ecosystems through rivers to sea connectivity

Past projects

ClimVar – Integration of climate variability and change into national strategies for the implementation of the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean

COACCH – CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs

CULTURES – Cultures of coastal adaptation

GREEN-WIN – Green growth and win-win strategies for sustainable climate action

Impact2C – Quantifying projected impacts under 2°C of warming

INSeaPTION – INtegrating SEA-level Projections in climate services for coastal adaptation

ISIpedia – Inter-sectoral impacts encyclopedia

ISI-MIP – Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project

MEDIATION – Methodology for effective decision making on impacts and adaptation

PROVIA – Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation

RISES -AM- Responses to coastal climate change: Innovative Strategies for high End Scenarios -Adaptation and Mitigation-

SEASCApe Baltic – SEA-level rise, Storm surges, and Coastal Adaptation at the German Baltic Sea coast

SEASCApe Baltic II – SEA-level rise, Storm surges, and Coastal Adaptation at the German Baltic Sea coast