Climate change remains one of the most challenging problems confronting society. Thanks to European and international research, our understanding of the causes of climate change has progressed significantly; however we cannot stop here: today’s pressing challenge is to explore and forecast the impacts of climate change and provide effective responses to it.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC-AR5) stated that the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that this warming is mostly caused by human activities that release carbon dioxide, methane or other gases into the atmosphere. According to the IPCC, negative impacts of climate change could be avoided, or reduced, provided that the rise of the global mean temperature was kept below 2°C. This would however require the complete decarbonisation of our economy before the end of the 21st century. The later this objective will be achieved, the larger risk our society will run in terms of negative impacts, and the higher the costs of mitigation and adaptation are going to be.
In order to enable informed decisions on the appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies, users - businesses, administrations and citizens - need services able to translate the existing wealth of climate data and information into customised tools, products and information, namely ‘climate services’. They will trigger a more systemic approach to risk management, leading to climate-smart, strategic decisions at various levels for a range of end-users. The development of markets for climate services will make the EU a world leader in this sector and contribute to wealth and job creation.
Discover how the European Union supports the nascent market for climate services
A fundamental restructuring of the way energy, land and water resources are managed is needed to achieve a cost-effective transition to low-carbon economy and society. Research and innovation will play an important role in defining cost-effective decarbonisation pathways, developing alternative technological and socio-economic solutions for decision-makers and for the society as a whole, while informing them on related risks and costs.
In the Arctic, where climate change is warming up the region twice as fast as the rest of the world, snow-coverage, ice-sheets and sea-ice have been decreasing in the last decades and permanently frozen ground is thawing. What was formerly a vast and icy wilderness, home only to few people who have adapted over centuries to this hostile environment, may soon become an area for thriving economic activities. Those changes cause significant geo-political and geo-economic consequences, including opening up of new transport routes and previously inaccessible natural resources. They also have global consequences such as sea-level rise, changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events, with socio-economic impact on the European Union. In this context, the European Union has an important role to play in supporting successful Arctic cooperation and helping to meet the challenges now facing the region.
Read more on the action of European Union in the Arctic
Horizon 2020 funding programme areas related to climate action
- Current EU research and innovation funding programme in the field of Climate Action - Horizon 2020
- Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies - Space
- Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy
- Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials
- European research & innovation roadmap for climate services
- The European Landscape on Climate Services – a note on climate service initiatives promoted by the Commission or with its support ( 189 KB)
- Summary & conclusions of the workshop "Towards a European market of climate services" ( 153 KB)
- Horizon 2020, Societal Challenge 5: 'Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials', Advisory Group Report, 2014