What the Arctic tells us about the human dimensions of climate change

  • Date: Wednesday 2 May 2018
  • Time: 16:00 - 17:15
  • Venue: SEE seminar rooms 8.119a/b
  • Speaker: James Ford, Priestley Chair Climate Change Adaptation

Inaugural seminar by Prof James Ford, Priestley Chair, Climate Change Adaptation


The Arctic is undergoing transformative climate change, with many regions of the circumpolar north warming in excess of 2°C. These changes are having widespread implications, including disrupting food and water systems, increasing disaster losses, damaging transportation routes and community/industrial infrastructure, compromising health, and affecting economic sectors. As the region undergoing the most climate change globally, the Arctic provides a unique opportunity to examine what a future climate changed world might look like, and generate fundamental understanding on how rapid climate change affects human systems. In this lecture I will draw upon over 15 years of research with Indigenous communities in northern Canada and Greenland to examine what the Arctic tells us about the human dimensions of climate change. Specific emphasis will be on how climate vulnerability (and adaptive capacity) emerges in the context of rapid climatic and socio-economic change; how change is perceived and understood; the pathways through which differential vulnerability becomes embedded within and between communities; and how the speed of climate change affects barriers and limits to adaptation. The lecture will finish by reflecting on research design and the insights from Arctic research for combining Indigenous/local knowledge in an era of transformational climate change.


Professor James D. Ford is a Priestley Chair in Climate Adaptation at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability with a strong focus on Indigenous peoples. The author of >160 articles, he is a lead author on the Arctic Councils’ Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic assessment and the IPCCs Special Report on 1.5C of warming.

To be followed by drinks reception in SEE foyer