Professor, CoFounder, Researcher
Professor Karen O’Brien is a leading international expert on the social and human dimensions of global environmental change. With 30 years of experience in climate change research, her work forges connections between different themes and fields, breaks ground for new ways of thinking, and opens up exciting frontiers for transformations to sustainability.
She is based at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, and is also a co-founder of cCHANGE, a company that bridges research and practice and supports transformation in a changing climate.
Her current research explores the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability. She is leading a five-year project called AdaptationCONNECTS (Adaptation: Combining Old and New kNowledge to Enable Conscious Transformation to Sustainability), which explores the role of collaboration, flexibility, creativity, and empowerment in transformation processes.
O’Brien is particularly interested in the role beliefs, values, worldviews, and paradigms play in generating conscious social change, and this includes an exploration of the potential for “quantum social change.” She explores these themes more deeply in her new book “You Matter More Than You Think: Quantum Social Change in Response to a World in Crisis.”
O´Brien has been committed to presenting climate change science to the policy community through her strong involvement in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And over the years she has been very engaged in the global research community including Future Earth.