Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Climate Adaptation: How Can Leaders Maintain and Improve Their Trust Whiles Managing a Creeping Climate Change Crisis?

James Badu

Business School, Nord University, Norway.


The creeping climate crisis has become one of the most challenging to affect humanity as the associated impacts increase over time. This requires that people have to learn to adapt to climate change. It may be an asset for people to adapt if the leaders in charge are perceived as trustworthy. This qualitative study draws on five semi-structured interviews conducted in Longyearbyen-Svalbard to explore the research question: How can local leaders maintain and improve their trust while managing the creeping climate crisis? The study shows that people perceive local leaders in Longyearbyen (Sysselmesteren and lokalstyre) as trustworthy in managing the creeping climate crisis. The local leaders are using ways such as frequently sharing climate information, taking effective and efficient action, and involving diverse stakeholders to maintain and improve their trust among the population. However, the study shows that leaders may need to pay attention to some socio-political policies, such as Voting rights, as such policies may influence their trust negatively in the long run. Therefore, the study has suggested a perspective on how leaders may maintain and improve their trust whiles managing the creeping climate crisis.

Keywords: Climate adaptation, Climate change, Creeping crisis, Trust, Proactive trust, Adaptive trust, Reactive trust.

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