To forge a climate-resilient Europe, the European Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change to get prepared for the upcoming impacts of climate change.
Although the EU does everything within its competence to reach the goals set in the European Green Deal and avoid climate change, all the Europeans must get ready to face its unavoidable consequences, just like in our present, deadly heatwaves, devastating droughts, decimated forests and coastlines eroded by rising sea levels are already seen as real problems.
Furthermore, economic losses from more frequent climate-related, extreme weather are increasing. In the EU this amount is already over 12 billion euros per year. Another serious issue is that climate change affects not only our economy but also our health and well-being. For example, Europeans increasingly suffered from heatwaves in the past years: in 2019, 2500 death occurred as a result of extreme heat.
The aim of the new strategy is to shift the focus from understanding the problem to developing solutions and to move from planning to implementation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder that insufficient preparation can have dire consequences,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. “There is no vaccine against the climate crisis, but we can still fight it and prepare for its unavoidable effects. The impacts of climate change are already felt both inside and outside the European Union. The new climate adaptation strategy equips us to speed up and deepen preparations. If we get ready today, we can still build a climate-resilient tomorrow.”
To be successful, the climate change adaptation must involve all parts of society and all levels of governance, so all together will be able to build a climate-resilient society and Europe. It is possible through many aspects: by improving knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions, by stepping up adaptation planning and climate risk assessments, by accelerating adaptation action and by helping to strengthen climate resilience globally. To sum up, we need a smarter, swifter and more systemic adaptation.
Another cardinal step is that adaptation actions must be informed by robust data and risk assessment tools that are available to all. That is why Climate-ADAPT, the European platform for adaptation knowledge will be further developed and a health observatory will be added to better track, analyse and prevent health impacts of climate change.
Moreover, the EU plans to act internationally, promoting sub-national, national and regional approaches to adaptation, with a specific focus on adaptation in Africa and Small Island Developing States. The EU will also cooperate with international partners to close the gap in international climate finance.