About the Dialogue

It is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the Oslo Extreme Dialogue – Building Bridges to the Future

The event will take place on June 18, 2013, from 12 to 3 pm in Sophus Lies Auditorium at the University of Oslo. This event is part of a series of dialogues about responses to changes in climate variability and extreme weather events that will be hosted at universities around the world.


Building upon some of the key messages presented in the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX), the dialogue seeks to develop an untapped potential to make better connections across communities, sectors, and generations.

The goal of the Oslo Extreme Dialogue is to build stronger bridges between current actions and future outcomes.

The dialogue will be focused on sharing stories and exchanging ideas and perspectives that empower new approaches and responses to climate change and extreme events. The anticipated audience includes 250-300 people, and the dialogue will be streamed and later available as a podcast.

The Oslo Extreme Dialogue will serve as a lead up to the international conference on “Transformation in a Changing Climate” taking place at the University of Oslo, 19-21 June, 2013.

Why an "Extreme Dialogue"?

This Extreme Dialogue seeks to alert the media and mobilize key decision-makers and the public at large to take action in response to changes in climate variability and extreme events. The dialogues will build upon some of the key messages presented in the IPCC SREX Report. The report emphasizes that climate change is influencing extreme events such as drought, floods, and heat waves in many parts of the world, and highlights the disproportionate vulnerability of certain areas, communities, regions, sectors and social groups to climate change. It also shows that risks can be reduced by policies and actions of governments, NGOs and civil society working at international, national and local levels.

Differing perspectives on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation can create obstacles to effective action. As discussed in the SREX, these are often related to differing perceptions of risk, tradeoffs between short-term and long-term goals, competing priorities and values, and different visions for the future. The obstacles need not, however, be fixed barriers to responses. They can be used to reach new understandings regarding the next steps to take for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, improved development trajectories and transformative processes towards equitable and sustainable societies.

Time to change the story

It must furthermore be recognized that framings serve a critical function in allocating responsibility for taking action. If climate change is framed as a scientific concern, many lay people do not feel directly implicated. If it is framed as a matter of technological innovation, researchers and engineers tend to be viewed as the primary actors. The imagery, language, messengers, and stories used in different framings can underscore or detract from an individual’s sense of responsibility and motivation for action. Individuals tend to be more effectively engaged emotionally by positive messages, while appealing to fear has been found to be largely counterproductive. Also, climate change has traditionally been framed as an environmental or political problem. Alternative frames, such as those that connect to here-and-now concerns such as extreme weather events or the economy, may prove more effective in engaging audiences than the frames that currently tend to dominate the public discourse.

The Oslo Extreme Dialogue represents a transformative approach to the challenges of managing the risks associated with changes in climate extremes. Drawing upon a diversity of disciplines and viewpoints, each dialogue will aim to move forward our collective thinking, influence decision-makers to respond to changing climate extremes and build constituencies of demand–an informed public able to perceive the real risks. The Extreme Dialogues will use facilitated dialogue and diverse media including film, art, and theatre to communicate climate change as a compelling story about extreme weather that emphasizes the capacities of humans to manage risk.

Questions to be addressed in the dialogue include:

  • What values are threatened when extreme events occur, and what values become more important during and after extreme events?
  • How do changing climate extremes influence current approaches to risk sharing (e.g. insurance, social capital)?
  • What are the most important indicators of a well-prepared society under changing extremes? Are these equitable to all sectors of a society?
  • What are the long-term benefits of directly engaging with disaster risk reduction?
  • What are the most practical and effective steps to mobilize human and technological resources for disaster prevention and preparedness?
  • What are some of the assumptions underlying these actions, and what are the most creative alternatives that we can imagine?
Published Apr. 11, 2013 5:55 PM - Last modified Apr. 4, 2017 8:39 AM