The European Commission has adopted a new strategy,on Adaptation to Climate Change building on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, aiming to tackle the impact of climate change.

The strategy warns that “exposing today’s EU economy to global warming of 3°C above pre-industrial levels” – the trajectory the world is currently on – would lead to an annual loss of at least EUR 170 billion, or 1.36% of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition to economic impacts, the strategy underscores that climate change has implications for the health and well-being of Europeans. It also notes climate impacts outside Europe that affect the EU “through cascading and spillover effects on trade or migration.”

The strategy stresses the need for adaptation action from all parts of society and all levels of governance, inside and outside the EU. Building a climate-resilient society, the strategy notes, requires improving knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions, stepping up adaptation planning and climate risk assessments, accelerating adaptation action, and helping to strengthen climate resilience globally.

In addition, the strategy highlights the global goal on adaptation established by the Paris Agreement on climate change, which also recognizes adaptation as a “key contributor to sustainable development.” Other efforts include:

  • promoting sub-national, national, and regional approaches to adaptation, with a specific focus on Africa and small island developing States (SIDS);
  • steping-up global engagement and exchanges on adaptation, including through strengthening cooperation and dialogue on adaptation in trade agreements; and
  • working with international partners to close the gap in international climate finance.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said the new strategy will “speed up and deepen preparations” for a climate-resilient future. “There is no vaccine against the climate crisis, but we can still fight it and prepare for its unavoidable effects,” he stated.

Read the full strategy report here