Karen O'Brien

Picture of Karen O'BrienKaren O’Brien is a professor in the Department of sociology and human geography at the University of Oslo, Norway.

She works on issues related to global environmental change, globalization, vulnerability, climate change adaptation, and human security. She is particularly interested in how societies both create and respond to change. Her research explores the ways that processes such as climate change, biodiversity loss and other large-scale environmental transformations interact with other global processes to exacerbate inequity, increase vulnerability and undermine sustainability. Moreover, she is interested in how integral theory and integral approaches can contribute to a better understanding of both the problems and solutions linked to climate change. Karen O’Brien leads the PLAN project on Responding to Climate Change: The Potentials of and Limits to Adaptation in Norway, and was also a Lead Author on the adaptation chapter for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Her interests in the project include the use of an integral approach for the investigation and implementation of socio-technical transitions, as well as the role of culture, values and worldviews for the ways in which such transitions are understood and carried out.