Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016

Transforming cities in a changing climate

This report builds on and complements existing products and initiatives on urban adaptation in Europe. It focuses on the state of actions in the field and progress achieved since the first EEA report in 2012, and it considers this analysis in relation to current challenges: Do existing actions lead to attractive, climate-resilient cities and if not, what needs to be changed? The report aims to broaden perspectives and provide input to a review and subsequent adjustment of urban adaptation to climate change by local governments and by supporting regional, national and European institutions, researchers and other relevant stakeholders.

Urban adaptation to climate change EEA Report 12/2016

The report is structured in six chapters including a executive summary and reading guide.

The first section gives an overview of action that can be taken to adapt cities in Europe and the progress made over the last couple of years.

The second chapter on "Climate and urban Europe – changes ahead" showes, that cities matter for Europe as centres of innovation and growths, and as engines of European economic development. Climate Change is a systematic challenge, specially for urban regions: It interacts strongly with socio-economic factors and their regional and global trends.

The third chapter discusses the road to adapt and transform cities into attractive, climate-resiient and sustainable places. People need to cope with extreme events and incrementally improve existing adaptation measures. A combination of short- and middle term solution with transformative adaptation offers and long-term solution needs to be done. This would cities enable to embrace change.

Chapter 4 shows, that urban adaptation combines action from different stakeholders and comes in different forms: planning, implementing and supporting. Many ciites are already working to mitigate the effects of climate change: decrease of the energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And hundres of cities have started to assess their vulnerability to climate change. The challenge is to find ways to close the gaps between the new frontrunner cities and the many cities that have not yet begun with adaptation and mitigation measures.

Chapter 5 shows selected areas of action, different stepts of planning and how to implement urban adaptation. Transformative adaptation is systemic. This approach can boost innovation and quality of life, making cities more attractive and vital like for example Copenhagen.

The conclusions in Chapter 6 discusses the need of cities to connect with global long-term change with actions here and now. Cities need to invest in a better urban future. But there are still knowledge gaps on urban adaptation. Researchers and knowledge providers can fill gaps, but only the effective co-creation of knowledge with practitioners, the communities affected and businesses ensures that the knowledge will be relevant and applicable.

Source: EEA (2016): Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016: Transforming cities in a changing climate. EEA Report No 12/2016. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union