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Introduction

There are a broad variety of EU and national climate change projects with relevance to coasts and oceans issues. As a region and a political entity, Europe is responding to climate change in its coasts and oceans. It is addressing mitigation and adaptation through global initiatives and regional and local actions, and is thus developing useful experiences and strategic approaches for the Convention Dialogue under the UNFCCC. The European Climate Change Program II has working groups for coasts and oceans issues: the Impacts and Adaptation Working Group; the Renewable Energy Working Group (for wave and offshore wind energy); and the Carbon Sequestration and Storage Working Group.

The European Union is sponsoring research for climate changes for oceans and coasts, including: monitoring, governance, and security initiatives under the European Space Agency; the European Network for Coastal Coordination Action; the European Spatial Planning: Adapting to Climate Change; the Coupled European Ocean Atmospheric Processes & Climate Change; and the EUROSION and Floodscape projects. The European Union is currently implementing the Water Framework Directive for rivers and watersheds, including a coastal component that links fresh waters and oceans.

The EU is also undertaking consultation on a Marine Strategy and a Maritime Strategy. The Maritime Strategy includes the Marine Strategy and addresses sustainable economic uses in Europe’s coastal and marine waters, considering climate change as a crosscutting theme. Europe also shares the Mediterranean Sea with northern Africa and Asia. Europe and member states like Italy implement regional initiatives for that sea, which consider economic and environmental factors, including climate change.

European Climate Change Programme II

The European Commission launched the Second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) by the end of 2005. The European Climate Change Programme is the Commission's main instrument to discuss and prepare the further development of the EU's climate policy. As before, the Commission plans to run this Programme in close cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders.

The second phase of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) consisted of several working groups:

  1. ECCP I review (with 5 subgroups (transport, energy supply, energy demand, non-CO2 gases, agriculture);
  2. aviation; CO2 and cars;
  3. carbon capture and storage;
  4. impacts and adaptation; and
  5. EU Emission Trading Scheme review.

The working groups for impacts and adaptation, and the carbon capture and storage are relevant for oceans and coasts.

Impacts and Adaptations

The European Commission is exploring its role and the scope for a policy strategy to adapt to the impacts of unavoidable climate change and how best to assist local, regional and national efforts. As part of exploring options to improve Europe’s resilience to climate change effects and defining the European Union role in climate change adaptation the European Commission is undertaking the following activities:

The ECCP II working group on Impacts and Adaptation has considered the following issues:

The most relevant working group for coasts and oceans are the subgroups on marine resources and coastal zones and tourism, and biodiversity.

The working group is developing a green paper on the EU role in climate change adaptation, and undertaking research into adaptation and mitigation options. A conference on climate change adaptation is being planned for the future as well as workshops in three European countries in 2007.

References

European Climate Change Program
Second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II), including links to all working groups
The main author of this article is Magdalena Muir
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.