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Silos as barriers to public sector climate adaptation and preparedness: insights from road closures in Norway

Merethe Dotterud Leiren, Jens Kristian Steen Jacobsen

Organisational perspectives propose that structural arrangements affect policy outcomes. Drawing on these perspectives, it is worthwhile to find out whether and how disagreements among public authorities create barriers to public sector adaptation and preparedness. As the literature on weather vulnerabilities and climate adaptation recommends increased public sector coordination, exploring the possibilities of governance can contribute to the improvement of lifeline conditions. Insights from a Norwegian case study suggest that the different mandates of responsible public authorities sometimes clash. Such clashes limit the abilities to sustain welfare and business conditions when avalanches and blizzards cause highway outages. The findings also show that governance might only partly improve public sector peril response measures, as there is rarely sufficient flexibility to consider specific interests or preferences, for example, to keep a highway open until a school bus or a freight delivery has passed.

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