The strategy identifies three cross-cutting priorities for adaptation strategies and plans: integrating adaptation into macro-fiscal policy; nature-based solutions for adaptation; and local adaptation action.
To improve climate adaptation knowledge, the EU will enhance and expand its Climate-ADAPT platform.
The European Commission has adopted a new strategy, setting out a pathway to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change builds on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and aims to shift the focus from planning to implementation.
The strategy warns that “exposing today’s EU economy to global warming of 3°C above pre-industrial levels” – the trajectory the world is currently on – would lead to an annual loss of at least EUR 170 billion, or 1.36% of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition to economic impacts, the strategy underscores that climate change has implications for the health and well-being of Europeans. It also notes climate impacts outside Europe that affect the EU “through cascading and spillover effects on trade or migration.”
The strategy stresses the need for adaptation action from all parts of society and all levels of governance, inside and outside the EU. Building a climate-resilient society, the strategy notes, requires improving knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions, stepping up adaptation planning and climate risk assessments, accelerating adaptation action, and helping to strengthen climate resilience globally.
To improve climate adaptation knowledge, the EU will enhance and expand its Climate-ADAPT platform by, inter alia, adding a dedicated health observatory to better track, analyze, and prevent climate change impacts on health.
To enable systemic adaptation actions, the European Commission “will continue to incorporate climate resilience considerations in all relevant policy fields.” The strategy identifies three cross-cutting priorities for adaptation strategies and plans: integrating adaptation into macro-fiscal policy; nature-based solutions for adaptation; and local adaptation action.
The strategy highlights the global goal on adaptation established by the Paris Agreement on climate change, which also recognizes adaptation as a “key contributor to sustainable development.” Among other efforts to step up the international adaptation response, the EU will:
- promote sub-national, national, and regional approaches to adaptation, with a specific focus on Africa and small island developing States (SIDS);
- step up global engagement and exchanges on adaptation, including through strengthening cooperation and dialogue on adaptation in trade agreements; and
- work with international partners to close the gap in international climate finance.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said the new strategy will “speed up and deepen preparations” for a climate-resilient future. “There is no vaccine against the climate crisis, but we can still fight it and prepare for its unavoidable effects,” he stated.
The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change was originally announced in the European Commission’s communication on the European Green Deal in 2019. [Publication: Forging a Climate-resilient Europe: The New EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change] [European Commission Press Release] [Remarks by Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal]