Climate change adaptation

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Page Last modified 27 Nov 2019
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Adapting to climate change is a top priority if we are to increase our resilience to the impacts it will bring, including extreme weather events. Climate change is happening now and will get worse in the future even if global efforts to reduce emissions prove effective. Extreme weather and climate-related events that result in hazards such as floods and droughts will become more frequent and intense in many regions. This leads to many adverse impacts on ecosystems, economic sectors, and human health and well-being. Therefore, actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change are paramount and should be tailored to the specific circumstances, which differ across Europe.

In order to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, the countries that have signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to limit the increase in the global average temperature since pre-industrial times to less than 2 °C. To achieve this objective, global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak as soon as possible and decrease rapidly thereafter.

Impacts, vulnerability and risks

The average annual surface temperature in Europe has been increasing at a faster rate than that of the global average temperature. The largest temperature increases have occurred in southern Europe in summer and in the Arctic region in winter.

At the same time, precipitation is generally decreasing in southern Europe and increasing in the north, albeit with significant seasonal variations. Moreover, projected increases in the intensity and frequency of heat waves and floods, and changes in the distribution of some infectious diseases and pollen can adversely affect human health.

Policies and actions

Adaptation to climate change is necessary. Adverse impacts of climate change are already being felt across Europe and will increase in the future, even after Europe has become a climate neutral continent.

We need to anticipate the actual and expected effects of climate change and take appropriate action to prevent or minimise the impacts. Strategies and actions are needed at the local, national, transnational and EU levels. Actions include technological measures, ecosystem-based measures and measures addressing behavioural changes.

Climate-ADAPT

The European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) is a partnership between the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA). Climate-ADAPT is maintained by the EEA with the support of the European Topic Centre on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (ETC/CCA).

EEA activities

The EEA supports the development, evaluation and implementation of climate change adaptation policies and actions in Europe by providing relevant knowledge. This includes data, indicators, assessments, information-sharing tools and networking activities on climate change, impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. The EEA works closely with its main stakeholders, the European Commission (Directorate-General (DG) Climate Action, DG Joint Research Centre, DG Eurostat) and EEA member countries through the Environment Information and Observation Network. The EEA also collaborates with the Copernicus climate change service and with other organisations including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the World Health Organisation Europe, the Office for Disaster Reduction Europe (UNDRR) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The EEA is supported in these activities by its European Topic Centre on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation.

Related links

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action

European Commission Joint Research Centre

European Topic Centre on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation

Copernicus climate change service

European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control

World health organization Europe

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) – Regional Office for Europe


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