Global warming has been stated to be unequivocal and human influenced. The emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased to a degree that they are producing disturbances to the world climatic system. Several climate change impacts have occurred, while others will occur or will be intensified in the future. Ocean acidification, sea-level rise and extreme weather events are some of the projected impacts which, in addition, might have negative effects on the environment, society and the economy. These effects need to be addressed in order to reduce vulnerability to climatic hazards by means of climate change adaptation planning. However, adaptation is a rather unknown topic for many cities that have been focusing more on climate change mitigation.
The new Covenant of Mayors (CoM), launched in 2015, includes adaptation to climate change as one of the three main pillars of local action towards 2050: mitigation, adaptation and secure affordable and sustainable access to Energy. The covenant signatories share a common vision to 2050 based on:
— Decarbonised territories, thus contributing to keeping average global warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the international climate agreement reached at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015.
— More resilient territories, thus preparing for the unavoidable adverse impacts of climate change.
— Universal access to secure, sustainable and affordable energy services for all, thus enhancing quality of life and improving energy security.
The JRC, as technical and scientific support actor should assure the CoM soundness and provide guidance to support climate change adaptation planning and implementation to signatory cities. The aim of this report is to stablish the rationale behind the essential requirements for successful adaptation in the frame of the CoM, based on literature review and Joint Research Centre’s knowledge on climate change adaptation. The results of this report highlight the need for identification of current and future climatic hazards, an inventory of critical infrastructure, active stakeholder and citizen participation, maladaptation avoidance, and an estimation of adaptation action costs.