Public consultation: TAP Adapting to the impacts of climate change

Climate change is acknowledged as an urgent global challenge, which must be addressed with various measures at all levels of governance. A recent report by the World Meteorological Organisation highlighted that temperatures in Europe have increased at more than twice the global average over the past 30 years at an average rate of about +0.5 °C per decade – the highest of any continent in the world – and, regardless of future levels of global warming, temperatures will continue to rise at a rate exceeding global mean temperature changes. As the warming trend continues, exceptional heat, wildfires, floods and other climate change impacts will continue to affect society, economies and ecosystems; including impacts on infrastructure, industry, public services etc; requiring a renewed territorial governance emphasis on adaptation.

The TAP “Adapting to the impacts of climate change” aims to support these endeavours by providing territorial evidence on climate change-related challenges and development opportunities, and providing options for regions and cities to adapt to the impacts of climate change with the aim of promoting societal health and wellbeing. The objective of this TAP is to develop the knowledge base on the territorial aspects of actual climate change consequences and adaptation possibilities. Through observations for the entire ESPON Programme area, this TAP will offer new insights and possible pathways for all types of territories to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to protect and/or restore ecosystems that play a vital role in climate regulation, and to create, enhance and manage green infrastructure (GI) that connects areas and provides ecosystem services.

The update of the ESPON CLIMATE project (2022) has produced evidence to show that climate change is already generating numerous impacts on society and the environment in Europe today and is having, and will continue to bring territorially asymmetric consequences, with peripheral regions being hit first and hardest due to higher vulnerability and reduced adaptive capacity. The ESPON-TITAN has developed methodologies to analyse the distribution and territorial patterns of the economic impacts of the natural hazards across Europe, including climate hazards, as place-based evidence to support the identification of the most vulnerable regions. This TAP will therefore have a special focus on territories with additional challenges, such as economic development, accessibility or social disparities so as to help demonstrate how an ecocentric approach to territorial development can help address adaptation challenges.

  • includes comparative studies, transferrable to policymaking, and aimed at identifying territorial impacts of climate change, and challenges and opportunities that may affect adaptation to these impacts (e.g. geographical specificities, cross-sectoral etc) and their implications for EU territorial cohesion goals.

Among others, this TAP:

  • develops indicators to measure and monitor climate risks in differing types of territories, sensitive to the differing baselines in different territories, and the interactions of these risks with other policy domains.
  • informs countries, regions and cities seeking to build adaptive capacity to climate risks, particularly through nature-based solutions and restoration in line with wider biodiversity goals.
  • Promotes cross-sectoral networking and involvement of civil societies in cross-cutting actions in relation to adaptation to the impacts of climate change and transforming territories to adapt to climate.
  • strengthens the capacities and skills of policy makers, on all levels of governance and across policy sectors and borders, in order to further integrate climate change adaptation in programming and policy making processes, including climate mitigation policies and overcoming potential local conflicts.
  • supports the capacity development of different territorial actors in planning, managing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating of ecosystem services and natural capital to ensure territories’ adaptive capacities can be fully utilised.

contributes to understanding possible territorial consequences, opportunities and challenges of territorially diverse European regions and cities following various pathways towards climate adaptation, including in respect of potential conflicts between policy domains e.g. green infrastructure versus food production etc


Read more about the Thematic Action Plan (TAP) on ‘Adapting to the impacts of climate change’ in the document that is attached below. 

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