The EU needs to further cut greenhouse gas emissions 26/11/18

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The EU needs to further cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the ongoing global warming

The EU’s 2013 strategy on adaptation to climate change aimed to make Europe more climate-resilient, focusing on three key objectives: promoting action by Member States, ‘climate-proofing’ action at EU level and supporting better-informed decision-making.

A recently completed evaluation of the 2013 strategy shows that positive impact has been achieved on its objectives, with progress recorded against each of its eight individual actions.

Key findings:

  • The current strategy is still relevant and the Commission will be guided by its objectives. Important lessons have been learned in the evaluation process. The strategy has been a reference point to prepare Europe for the climate impacts to come, at all levels.
  • Knowledge, adaptation modelling and region-specific intelligence has been generated by the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme and projects and by the Commission’s own internal scientific services (Joint Research Centre).
  • Major infrastructure projects financed by the EU budget have become climate-proof and will withstand sea level rise, flooding or intense heat.
  • In the future, an effort must be made to ensure most or all EU cities count on a thorough adaptation plan to protect citizens from both extreme and slow-onset climate hazards. The plans should also cater for specific vulnerabilities of certain communities (e.g. the EU's Outermost Regions) and the different risks faced by the very diverse regions in the European continent.
  • Adaptation must support and be supported by the protection of the EU's biodiversity (nature-based solutions).
  • The contribution of the private sector to enhance society's resilience must be encouraged: the Commission's efforts will continue to be channelled through its Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and the subsequent legislative proposals adopted in 2018.
  • Climate services for specific adaptation needs should develop into business opportunities, based on reliable and standardised data and the incentives provided by Copernicus and other European Earth observation initiatives.

The evaluation also suggests areas where more work needs to be done to prepare vulnerable regions and sectors, aiming to provide food for thought for the UN climate change conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland, and adaptation reporting requirements in the context of the governance of the Energy Union.

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