New EU on-line tool to help adapt to climate change

March 25th, 2012 by European Commission

The European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT), an interactive web-based tool on adaptation to climate change, went online on the 23 March 2012 at the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, joined Ida Auken, Denmark’s Minister for the Environment, and the EEA’s Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade for the launch.

The European Climate Adaptation Platform is a publicly accessible web-based platform designed to support policy-makers at EU, national, regional and local levels in the development of climate change adaptation measures and policies. Adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause.

CLIMATE-ADAPT has been developed with the support of the European scientific and policy making community, and will help users to access, disseminate and integrate information on:

  • Expected climate change in Europe
  • The vulnerability of regions, countries and sectors now and in the future
  • Information on national, regional and transnational adaptation activities and strategies
  • Case studies of adaptation and potential future adaptation options
  • Online tools that support adaptation planning
  • Adaptation-related research projects, guideline documents, reports information sources, links, news & events.

Commissioner Hedegaard said “this can be a tremendous tool helping decision makers to choose the best solutions to the benefit of their citizens. We are too bad at sharing best practices as well as information on what not to do. This new interactive tool will make efforts much more efficient.”

The impacts of climate change pose significant social, environmental and economic threats to the European and global community. More frequent and extreme weather events – rains & floods, heat waves & droughts – reduced snowpack, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels will increasingly affect livelihoods, food production, energy supply, infrastructure, ecosystems: society as a whole.

The hot summer of 2003 is estimated by Munich Re to have led to €10 billion losses to EU farming, livestock and forestry from the combined effect of drought, heat stress and fire.

The PESETA study (Projection of Economic impacts of climate change in Sectors of the European Union based on boTtom-up Analysis) of the EU Joint Research Centre has estimated that, without adaptation to climate change, if the projected climate of the 2080s were to occur today, the annual damage to the EU economy would be between €20-65 billion.

Such risks require us to take action now to ensure that our society is able to adapt to the consequences of climate change, moderating its negative effects and exploiting beneficial opportunities.

Evidence of the economic benefits of adaptation action is mounting: the current annual economic damage for the EU due to floods alone is about €6.4 billion and, according to the FP7 ClimateCost project, it is projected to increase many times over by 2050. Adaptation measures could avoid such damages at only a small fraction of their expected costs.

To be able to take the necessary decisions on how best to adapt, it is essential to have access to reliable data on the likely impact of climate change, the associated socio-economic aspects and the costs and benefits of various adaptation options.

The Commission’s 2009 White Paper on Adaptation emphasised that the lack of knowledge is a major obstacle to the development of successful climate change adaptation responses.

CLIMATE-ADAPT will be hosted and managed by the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen.

CLIMATE-ADAPT will support the generation of the knowledge-base required to support the development of evidence-based adaptation policies. Its contribution will inform the development of a comprehensive EU Adaptation Strategy that the Commission plans to adopt in the beginning of 2013, with the goal of supporting the needs of Member States, transnational organisations and local stakeholders with appropriate actions at EU level.

 

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