Tomorrow, EU environment ministers will meet to discuss among other things the new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change. The Strategy, which forms part of the European Green Deal, was presented by the Commission last month and outlines a long-term vision of creating a climate-resilient Union by 2050 by making adaptation to challenges presented by climate change smarter, more systematic, and swifter. Back in December, in advance of the Commission’s strategy, MEPs adopted a resolution urging Member States to develop prevention and rapid response plans for climate disasters that include mechanisms for cross-border action and solidarity.
The Strategy aims to respond to increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events and emphasises smarter adaptation through centralising data collection on climate-related losses and physical climate risk at EU levels. It also highlights the need for “just resilience” which will lend support to regions and socio-economic groups in Europe that are most at risk to the effects of climate change through local adaptation action.
The Strategy also calls for faster action to be taken as the effects of climate change are already being felt, with the situation further worsened by additional pressure on society caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Instruments such as the Recovery and Resilience facility can play a key role in streamlining investments targeted at climate adaptation and mitigation as well as research programmes such as Horizon 2020.
24 March: Plenary Debate on Cohesion Policy and regional environment strategies in the fight against climate change
10 May: ENVI Committee vote on 8th Environmental Action Programme (2021-2030)
June: Council expected to agree to conclusions on the new strategy
The European Movement International position
The Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change is a chance for the EU to face the consequences of the climate crisis with more preparedness and resilience, and should play a key role in Europe’s recovery from COVID-19. As highlighted in our policy position “A European Union Response to COVID-19”, the recovery of Europe’s economy must be guided by a transition to a just and sustainable future led by the European Green Deal’s growth strategy. National recovery plans therefore must support climate adaptation and mitigation.
The Strategy also emphasises the importance of creating enhanced roles for nature-based solutions on a larger scale in order to ensure healthy water, oceans and soils. We argue in our policy position on “Moving Towards a Sustainable Future” that it is crucial to ensure protection of biodiversity and ecosystems that underpin our well-being and economy. It is imperative that we develop adaptation solutions in order to reduce these climate-related risks.