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BSSSC/BALTEX Conference "Adaptation to Climate Change on the Regional Level"

BSSSC/BALTEX Conference "Adaptation to Climate Change on the Regional Level"

At the one-day conference in Hamburg on 31 May 2011, everything concerning regional climate change in the Baltic Sea area and sustainable development through adaptation was the central point of discussion. The conference "Adaptation to Climate Change on the Regional Level" was organised by the international BALTEX secretariat and the city of Hamburg, which also chairs the association of regional decision-makers in the Baltic Sea region "Baltic Sea States Subregional cooperation" (BSSSC).

Around 80 scientists, regional planners, decision-makers and other stakeholders from the Baltic Sea countries participated in this lively exchange of experiences and ideas. After an introduction into the scientific basis of climate research, presented by Prof. Hans von Storch of the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht the topic of adaptation to climate change in the Baltic Sea region was presented with an emphasis on research. What challenges does regional planning face? How can potential damage be measured? These and other questions are being investigated by the projects plan B:altic and BalticClimate, led by Dr. Sonja Deppisch (HafenCity Universität Hamburg) and Sebastian Ebert (Academy for Spatial Research and Planning, Hannover). Along with these methodological questions concerning adaptation, the significance of communicating climate data to stakeholders was emphasised in the presentations of the climate information services of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), represented by Dr. Carin Nilsson and Dr. Erik Engström, and the North German Climate Office (Norddeutsches Klimabüro), represented by Dr. Insa Meinke and Prof. Hans von Storch.

From a practical point of view, case studies in Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden made clear that communication and inclusion of many different stakeholders is a key factor in the implementation of climate adaptation strategies in the Baltic Sea region. Dr. Grit Martinez, director of the KLIMZUG project "RADOST – Regional Adaptation Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Coast", presented these case studies and moderated the closing panel discussion with Stefan Herms of the State Office of the City of Hamburg, Prof. Hans von Storch, Lykke Leonardsen, from the municipal administration of Copenhagen, and Ulf Moback, city planner from the city of Gothenburg. In a lively discussion among both the panel and the audience, existing deficits in communication between academia, policy and planning were identified and the need for strengthened international cooperation in the Baltic Sea region in this area recognised. Through the intensive, cross-disciplinary exchange of knowledge and experiences on climate adaptation in the Batic Sea region, the conference succeeded in taking a first step in the right direction. Thus, a summary from Dr. Marcus Reckermann of the BALTEX secretariat: "A stronger network of regional planners and improved communication between academics and planners are manageable challenges for the future, in addition to recognising opportunities for regional planning that could lie in intelligent adaptation strategies."

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Keywords: climate change, adaptation, regional adaptation strategies, maritime economy, coastal protection, Baltic Coastline, climate data, knowledge transfer