Adapting to climate change


Adaptation and mitigation measures are being developed in the fight against climate change. Adaptation is still relatively new, but since it is a cross-cutting exercise and important policy developments are at stake, it feeds into other areas such as water policy and the Commission’s water Blueprint due before the end of the year.

The EU’s White Paper on adaptation sets out a framework to reduce the Union’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change. It rests on four pillars. It looks to build a solid knowledge base on the impact and consequences of climate change, to mainstream adaptation into other key policy areas, to employ several policy instruments, including finance and guidelines to ensure effective delivery and to inject it into international negotiations. Enhancing the EU’s resilience to climate change also means investing in a low-carbon economy, promoting energy efficiency and the uptake of green products.

A major step was taken in March with the launch of CLIMATEADAPT, a European climate adaptation platform. This brings together information on adaptation strategies and provides inspiration and tools for national, regional and local authorities to devise their own measures and strategies.

Adaptation is:

  • forecasting and analysing climate change impacts;
  • assessing social, economic and environmental risks and costs;
  • finding the best responses;
  • putting these into action.

The diversity of the information is part of its strength, but there is a need to ensure that everyone can have access to it. Adaptation is basically local, as climate change impacts vary from region to region. It is also broad since the need to adapt to climate change is a challenge shared by most natural processes and human activities.

Mainstreaming climate change is boosted in the multiannual financial framework for EU financing from 2014 to 2020. This means that policies such as energy, cohesion, transport, agriculture, public health and overseas aid will have to take climate change into account.

Adaptation and water

The Climate Action DG is working with other Commission departments to identify qualitative and concrete measures to be put in place – work which will lead to a climate adaptation strategy in 2013. One focus area is water policy, and input on adaptation requirements is being fed into the Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s waters.

Climate change and water will also feature at Green Week, providing an opportunity for exchanges of information on best practices, transboundary cooperation and other issues.


Climate action