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Adapting to change: Time for climate resilience and a new adaptation strategy. EPC Issue Paper 5 March 2020

Piqueres , Sofía López and Giuli , Marco and Hedberg, Annika (2020) Adapting to change: Time for climate resilience and a new adaptation strategy. EPC Issue Paper 5 March 2020. UNSPECIFIED.

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    The dramatic effects of climate change are being felt across the European continent and the world. Considering how sluggish and unsuccessful the world has been in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the impacts will become long-lasting scars. Even implementing radical climate mitigation now would be insufficient in addressing the economic, societal and environmental implications of climate change, which are expected to only intensify in the years to come. This means climate mitigation must go hand in hand with the adaptation efforts recognised in the Paris Agreement. And although the damages of climate change are usually localised and adaptation measures often depend on local specificities, given the interconnections between ecosystems, people and economies in a globalised world there are strong reasons for European Union (EU) member states to join forces, pool risk and cooperate across borders. Sharing information, good practices, experiences and resources to strengthen resilience and enhance adaptive capacity makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. The European Commission’s 2013 Adaptation Strategy is the first attempt to set EU-wide adaptation and climate resilience and could be considered novel in that it tried to mainstream adaptation goals into relevant legislation, instruments and funds. It was not very proactive, however. It also lacked long-term perspective, failed to put the adaptation file high on the political agenda, was under resourced, and suffered from knowledge gaps and silo thinking. The Commission’s European Green Deal proposal, which has been presented as a major step forward to the goal of Europe becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent, suggests that the Commission will adopt a new EU strategy on adaptation to climate within the first two years of its mandate (2020-2021). In light of the risks climate change poses to ecosystems, societies and the economy (through inter alia the vulnerability of the supply chain to climate change and its potential failure to provide services to consumers), adaptation should take a prominent role alongside mitigation in the EU’s political climate agenda. Respecting the division of treaty competences, there are important areas where EU-wide action and support could foster the continent’s resilience to climate change. The European Policy Centre (EPC) project “Building a climate-resilient Europe”, which has culminated in this Issue Paper, has identified the following: (i) the ability to convert science-based knowledge into preventive action and responsible behaviour, thus filling the information gap; (ii) the need to close the protection gap through better risk management and risk sharing; (iii) the necessity to adopt nature-based infrastructural solutions widely and tackle the grey infrastructure bias; and (iv) the need to address the funding and investment gap. This Issue Paper aims to help inform the upcoming EU Adaptation Strategy and, by extension, strengthen the EU’s resilience to climate change. To that end, the authors make a call for the EU to mainstream adaptation and shift its focus from reacting to disasters to a more proactive approach that prioritises prevention, risk reduction and resilience building. In doing so, the EU must ensure fairness and distributive justice while striving for climate change mitigation and protecting the environment and biodiversity. To succeed, the new EU Adaptation Strategy will need to address specific challenges related to the information, protection, funding and investment gaps; and the grey infrastructure bias. To tackle and address those challenges, this Paper proposes 17 solutions outlined in Table 1 (see page 6).

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > energy policy (Including international arena)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > European Policy Centre > EPC Issue Paper
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2020 10:30
    Number of Pages: 36
    Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 10:30

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