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.
On 8 October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a Special Report on the impact of global warming above 1.5 °C, providing policy-makers with a strong scientific basis for their efforts to tackle climate change. The report shows that achieving this goal is possible, provided we act now and use every tool at our disposal. Research and Innovation will play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change and the EU will continue to lead in that domain.
The 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.
Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
We are focussed on the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change, and the negative and positive consequences for, the environment, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on cross-sectoral issues. We work with the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Climate Change, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and the Belmont Forum amongst others. We are also the architects behind the biennial European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) conference. Working closely with the Adaptation Unit in DG CLIMA, we also integrate and/or provide support to the European Commission’s delegation attending the international climate negotiation meetings (COPs).
Discover the EU Adaptation Strategy Package
One of our current areas of interest are Climate Services. 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
Policy booklet on climate change adaptation research, science and innovation
EU-funded research and innovation informing decision-making and providing solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve the resilience of our societies.
Read the booklet
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.π>
Final Report of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative
In November 2018, a panel of independent experts produced a report on the R&I strategies that should be adopted in order to speed-up and foster mitigation policies in the EU. The ideas put forward in the report respond to the goals of the Paris Agreement while growing the competitiveness of the EU economy. The report implies that the design of future funding programmes must massively invest in a wide portfolio of zero-carbon solutions, in particular for addressing the most difficult aspects of decarbonisation where alternatives to fossil-fuels are still far from the marketplace. It has been published together with the Commission Strategy ‘A Clean Planet for All’ for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
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
28-31 May 2019, Lisbon, Portugal - European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) 2019
- Final Report of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative
- European research & innovation roadmap for climate services
- The EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change
- 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