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European Climate Change Program II

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European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) II: Impacts and Adaptation

There is growing evidence that the European climate is changing. The global average temperature has already increased by 0.7°C and in Europe by 0.95°C above pre-industrial levels. As a result of this seemingly small increase in temperature, there is evidence of rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, retreating glaciers, thinning of the artic sea ice, increased numbner of extreme weather events and species migrating out of historic ranges to colder climates, thereby changing ecosystems. Europe’s climate is expected to change over the coming years.

Scientists across Europe are trying to predict these climatic changes. Current levels of greenhouse gases result in a further increase of 2-6.3°C in Europe over less than 100 years. In 2004 the European Environment Agency summarized the climate change impacts in Europe, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe.

Changes in the climate are likely to have knock-on impacts on the EU economy and society including water, agriculture, forestry, industry and biodiversity to urban life. Therefore, in addition to avoiding and reversing climate change through a reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases, there is a need to ensure that Europe is able to adequately adapt to climate changes that are predicted for the European regions, which is the intent of this program.

Adaptation to climate change involves considering climate change impacts on a range of sectors, organizations and people, and making decisions involves risk assessments and assessments of costs and benefits. The impacts of climatic changes will hit both locally and regionally but in different ways. The majority of adaptation actions will therefore need to be decided upon and undertaken at the local, regional and national level.

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's role in climate change adaptation the European Commission is undertaking a number of activities.

1. The ECCP II working group on Impacts and Adaptation has resulted in a range of reports:

2. A green paper is also being developed on the EU's role in climate change adaptation.

The Green Paper in Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe is being discussed in four regional stakeholder workshops in 2007 in four European countries, after having an introductory conference on climate change adaptation in Brussels in July 2007.

References

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe
European Commission webpage


The main author of this article is Magdalena Muir
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.