Adaptation to climate change: EU research projects presented at ECCA conference
Brussels, 18 March 2013
Policy and decision-makers across Europe need improved understanding of the potential impacts of climate change at different sectors and levels, from local to national, regional and worldwide. The need to enhance understanding of climate change and its impacts, on vulnerability and adaptation policy options and measures has been reflected in the research priorities of the Environment Work Programme of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which began in 2007 and ends this year. Results from this research will be presented at the European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference, "Integrating Climate Into Action" in Hamburg, Germany, March 18-20, 2013.
A summary of some key EU supported projects is presented here. The results of these projects have been taken into account for the preparation of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change, to be adopted this spring.
Further information on these and other relevant research projects and EU adaptation resources can be found in the European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT (http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/).
CLIMATECOST (The Full Cost of Climate Change, 2008-2011, EU budget contribution: €3.5 mln) identified consistent scenarios for climate change and socio-economic development, including mitigation pathways. Research focused on quantification of estimated impacts for different sectors, including: sea level rise and effects in coastal zones, agriculture, river flooding, health, energy and ecosystems, as well as impacts from extreme weather events. For example, under a medium to high emission trajectory, with no mitigation or adaptation, the project estimated that 55,000 people could be affected by flooding per year (mid estimate) by the 2050s (2041-2070) and potentially over 250,000 people per year by the 2080s (2071-2100). A further 438,000 people may need to move away from the coastal zone because of annual flooding. Countries in north-west Europe have the greatest potential damages and costs from sea level rise, despite they are the frontrunners developing climate change adaptation strategies in the European Union. The analysis of different scenarios concluded that the projected economic costs would be significantly lower under mitigation scenarios but mostly after the year 2040, highlighting the need for adaptation.
RESPONSES (European responses to climate change: deep emissions reductions and mainstreaming of mitigation and adaptation, 2010-2013, EU contribution: €3.15 mln) is investigating EU policy action on climate change, in order to identify and assess integrated EU climate-change policy responses that achieve ambitious mitigation and environmental targets and, at the same time, reduce the Union's vulnerability to climate-change. In particular the project is contributing to the development of a new global scenario for very low greenhouse gas emissions, which would achieve the EU's policy target of no more than 2°C global warming by 2100, and investigates how considerations about climate change impacts can be integrated into EU sectoral policies. The main outputs of the project will include a set of global low emission scenarios, differentiated by key countries, options and strategies for integrating mitigation and resilience to climate impacts into EU policies, and a validated strategic climate assessment approach.
CLIMSAVE (Climate change integrated assessment methodology for cross-sectoral adaptation and vulnerability in Europe, 2010-2013, EU contribution: €3.15 mln) is developing a web-based tool that will allow stakeholders to assess climate change impacts and vulnerabilities for a range of sectors, including agriculture, forests, biodiversity, coasts, water resources and urban development, linking the different sectoral models. This will improve stakeholders understanding of how their interactions could affect European landscape change, and allow them to explore adaptation strategies for reducing climate change vulnerability and to discover where, when and under what circumstances such actions might help. Its final public release is expected by summer 2013.
MEDIATION (Methodology for Effective Decision-making on Impacts and AdaptaTION, 2010-2013, EU contribution: €3.15 mln) aims at delivering a systematic and integrated methodology for the assessment of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. An interactive Common Platform should provide systematic access to adaptation-related challenges, and method categories and tools to support the assessment of climate change impacts and the assessment of adaptation options.
RAMSES (Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities, 1/10/2012-30/9/2017, EU contribution: €5.2 mln) focuses on EU and international cities with the aim of setting up an analytical framework for developing adaptation strategies and implementing measures. Research will focus on climate change impacts, full economic costs and adaptation benefits . The developed framework will be converted into a guide for stakeholders, responding to their need for prioritising adaptation and mitigation decisions.
BASE (Bottom-up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe, 1/10/2012-30/09/2016, EU contribution: €5.9 mln). Through the analysis of over 20 cases, the project will aim at improving adaptation knowledge availability and use, strengthening stakeholder participation in adaptation decisions and policies, and supporting coherent, multi-level and multi-sector adaptation policy development. Policy guidelines, integrating lessons from past experiences, case studies, and insights provided by modelling and stakeholder participation, are among the main project outputs.
ToPDAd (Tool-supported policy-development for regional adaptation, 1/10/2012-30/09/2015, EU contribution: €4.56 mln) aims to support the integrated assessment of climate change impacts and regional adaptation decision-making. Emphasis is placed on the energy, transport and tourism sectors, but also on health, environment and socioeconomic domains. Sophisticated modelling will be employed to analyse sector responses to the impacts of climate change and thereby get more refined assessments of (1) possible cost consequences for the selected sectors, of (2) future risks of inadequate coping ranges, and of (3) the potential of adaptation innovations in a co-evolutionary context. For the purpose of mid- and long-term strategy formulations, two time frames will be considered: 2010-2050 and 2050-2100.