Abstract. The absence of clear signals from the Norwegian state concerning climate change adaptation provides an opportunity to investigate why some municipalities have addressed adaptation to climate change while others have not. Although difficulties associated with implementing adaptation to climate change are well documented, less is known about those individuals who take the lead. On the basis of in-depth interviews and interaction with eight Norwegian municipalities that have begun working with climate adaptation, we examine how climate adaptation has been added to the local agenda. We find that adaptation planning has progressed more in those municipalities where officials are engaged and actively seeking external expertise and support. We conclude that, without a clearer national adaptation policy and greater resource allocation and legislation, adaptation to climate change within Norwegian municipalities is unlikely to progress further.