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Richard J.T. Klein

Senior Research Fellow and Team Leader, International Climate Risk and Adaptation, Stockholm Environment Institute

Richard Klein is an internationally leading expert on the science and policy of adaptation to climate change. He has over 30 years of experience in original research, science assessment and policy advice. Much of his recent work has addressed the role of adaptation in the design and implementation of a global climate policy agreement, but he also studies societal and institutional challenges to adaptation and the alignment of adaptation with other policy priorities. Richard sees adaptation as a global challenge and was one of the architects of Adaptation Without Borders—a global partnership working to strengthen systemic resilience to cross-border climate impacts.

Richard joined the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2006 to develop its research strategy on climate change and coordinate its implementation. He now leads the team International Climate Risk and Adaptation. He was visiting professor of geography, climate policy and development at Linköping University from 2011 to 2023. Based in Bonn since 2016 to strengthen SEI’s visibility and impact in Germany, he continues to pursue partnerships with research organisations, policy stakeholders and funders.

Richard founded the pioneering academic journal Climate and Development, which first appeared in 2009 and of which he was editor-in-chief for ten years. He has been involved in IPCC since 1994 (including three times as lead author and three times as coordinating lead author), and was co-director and chief scientist of the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research from 2011 to 2016. In 2018 and 2019, Richard was the first director of science and innovation of the Global Center on Adaptation, and served as co-director of research of the Global Commission on Adaptation. During those years he also served as co-chair of the Science Committee of the World Adaptation Science Programme.

Throughout his career, Richard has led a range of large international collaborative research and capacity-building projects and programmes, and advised governments, international agencies, civil society organisations and private firms. He has published widely in top academic journals and is one of the world’s most cited experts in his field. In 2016, Richard received the prestigious Burtoni Award in recognition of his work on climate adaptation.

Before joining SEI, Richard spent eight years at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He began his career at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Institute for Environmental Studies in 1992. In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of Kiel.


  • 2006–present
    Senior research fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • 2011–2023
    Visiting professor of geography, climate policy and development, Linköping University
  • 1999–2006
    Senior researcher and deputy department head, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • 1992–1998
    Research associate and senior research associate, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


2016 Burtoni Award for excellence in climate adaptation research