04 Jun 2008

Adaptation to Climate Change: Why is it needed and how can it be implemented?

Asbjørn Aaheim / Carlo Lavalle / Zbigniew Kundzewicz / Anita Wreford / Paul Watkiss / Anthony Patt / Henry Neufeldt / Reinhard Mechler / Darryn McEvoy / Frans Berkhout / Christian Egenhofer

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This is the 3rd study to be published in the CEPS Policy Brief series from ongoing research being carried out for the EU-funded ADAM project (ADaptation And Mitigation strategies: supporting European climate policy). Following an introduction to the aims and objectives of the ADAM project, section 2 sets out the rationales for public policy related to adaptation to the impacts of climatic change in the EU. Section 3 provides evidence from a number of stakeholders and sketches the perception of various actors towards the role of European adaptation policies and climate proofing of sectoral policies. Section 4 on the economics of adaptation argues that the economic impacts of climate change will mainly be reduced by private and autonomous response, while principal challenges are with adaptation needs that require collective action and public engagement, including public finance. Section 5 assesses monetary and socioeconomic risks from extreme weather events in Europe and points to the evidence of rising losses due to weather extremes whilst important knowledge gaps remain to project future risks. And the final section (6) deals with different concepts of uncertainties surrounding climate change and climate variability, and argues for adaptive measures to be sufficiently flexible to allow recalibration as uncertainties are reduced with time.