Environmental Challenge — Climate Change


Climate change, one of today’s most difficult challenges, is characterized by long-term risks, high political stakes, and complicated feedback structures. The research at Tema M, Environmental Change, follows two main tracks. The first one focuses on climate policy in a broader sense and is conducted primarily at the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. The other one focuses on climate-biogeochemistry, particularly with regard to the emission of greenhouse gases. The role of forests as greenhouse gas sinks and the debate about geo-engineering are other projects in the area of climate change.

Climate policy is conducted from global to the local level and does not only focus on emissions but also on vulnerability, adjustment and adaptation. Climate policy research at Tema M aims to develop knowledge and methods for climate work in and outside Sweden. Researchers at Tema M participate both at UN Summits and municipal planning meetings. The roles of individual organizations, authorities and companies are also studied.

The greenhouse gases that our planet emits affect climate-biogeochemistry, regardless if they are natural or human induced. Large amounts of greenhouse gases are emitted not only by land, but also by lakes and rivers. A powerful and, in this aspect, previously underestimated greenhouse gas is methane. Researchers at Tema M identify and analyze the greenhouse gas balance of entire landscape types, soil and water included. How methane is formed, transported and released is a central issue as well as to quantify these emissions. Afforestation and sustainable energy are other factors that affect climate change and that are studied in this area.

Technological manipulation of the earth’s climate is discussed as an opportunity to avert the climate threat. It may concern the issue of soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to reflect sunlight, or simulated volcanic eruption. But the techniques are risky and thus politically delicate. Researchers at Tema M study and analyze the scientific as well as the media debate on climate manipulation, Climate Engineering, both in Sweden and internationally.


Research projects

Decomposed leaf.

The reaction explaining large carbon sinks

A mystery has finally been solved. Researchers from LiU and Helmholtz Munich have discovered that a certain type of chemical reaction can explain why organic matter found in rivers and lakes is so resistant to degradation.

Bild på sjö. Picture on a lake

Predicting future methane fluxes from northern lakes (METLAKE)

The aim of the research project is to better quantify and develop models to predict methane emissions from lakes.

Three proposals from researchers to meet EU climate goals

The ability to meet EU climate goals is enhanced by investing in new technologies that remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. Although it is currently unprofitable, there are ways to change that. This is concluded in an article by researchers from LiU.

Researchers in the field