A new EU Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation

Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, United Kingdom. Photo by Nicholas Doherty/Unsplash.

Published on:

On 24 February, the European Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, setting out how the EU can adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change and become climate resilient by 2050.

Building a climate-resilient future

As part of the EU Green Deal, the European Commission unveiled on Tuesday a new, more ambitious EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of our unpreparedness to face global crises. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans commented:

There is no vaccine against the climate crisis, but we can still fight it and prepare for its unavoidable effects. (…) If we get ready today, we can still build a climate-resilient tomorrow.

Building on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and following an open public consultation from last year, the new proposal aims to shift focus from understanding the problem and planning, more towards finding and implementing concrete solutions.

Fridays for future – global climate strike on the European elections in May 2019. By Markus Spiske.

Read more about the EU Climate change policy here.

Why a new Strategy?

The impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather including heat waves and droughts, are increasingly frequent in Europe and globally. These result in economic losses, environmental degradation and also affect health and well-being of people all around the world. According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), the most lethal natural disaster of 2019 was the European heat wave, hitting specifically France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The European Climate adaptation strategy aims to:

  • improve knowledge of climate impacts and solutions: concretely through enhancing and expanding Climate-ADAPT, the European platform for adaptation knowledge;
  • step up systemic adaptation planning and climate risk assessments;
  • accelerate adaptation action;
  • and help to strengthen climate resilience globally through scaling up international finance, stronger global engagement and exchanges on adaptation.

The principal objectives are to make adaptation smarter, swifter and more systemic, and to step up international cooperation on adaptation to climate change.

What is next?

The four goals are underpinned in 14 actions, which should be taken to deliver the principal objectives. In the next step, the Commission will discuss the Strategy with the Member States in the Environmental Council. The Council is then expected to agree to conclusions on the new strategy in its next meeting in June 2021.

Climate Change Adaptation & Protected Areas

While nature suffers from climate change effects and needs our protection, Protected Areas can at the same time help us tackle the problem.

EUROPARC welcomes the new strategy, as it acknowledges the urgency of the climate crisis, calls for more international cooperation and highlights the importance of systemic solutions – including the high priority of preserving healthy ecosystems to create efficient nature-based solutions.

Explore how EUROPARC helps Protected Areas managers adapt to climate change within the LIFE project Natur’Adapt and learn more in our section on Climate Change Adaptation & Protected Areas.