CLIMAAX contribution to climate adaption

The EU Adaptation Strategy highlighted the urgent need for more ambitious efforts in climate adaptation, climate-proofing, resilience building, prevention, and preparedness. The EU Mission on climate adaptation has laid out an ambitious framework for local and regional transformative adaptation, aimed at preparing Europe to deal with climate disruptions, accelerating the transformation towards a climate-resilient future, and building deep resilience by scaling up actionable solutions. The roadmap to transformational change, as laid out by the Mission Adaptation, depends on innovations in local and regional climate risk assessments across key community systems most vulnerable to climate change such as health and social care systems, critical infrastructure and entities, water supply, landscape productivity and ecosystem health. Within the Mission Adaptation, CLIMAAX aims to develop a customised framework and toolbox for climate risk assessment at local and regional scales.

Filling the gap

Local and regional communities are exposed to various climate risks and lack the necessary resources and tools to effectively cope with and manage them. Many communities lack the necessary information, data and skills to identify and prioritise climate risks, assess their vulnerability, and develop strategies to manage them. This is due to a range of factors such as limited financial resources, technology or skilled professionals, weak institutional capacity, and political or social barriers. Climate risk assessments are useful they contribute to the development of capacity and capability to effectively cope with and manage risks. 

Communities face difficulties in implementing effective adaptation measures when they lack sufficient knowledge the evolving and compound patterns of current and future risks caused by extreme weather and climate-related hazards, as well as their vulnerabilities and underlying risk drivers. CLIMAAX will help local and regional communities to gain a deeper understanding of the climate risks they are exposed to, and empower them to take action. assist communities in evaluating their past experience and progress in assessing climate change risks, particularly those affecting the key community systems help them to address capacity and capability gaps.

The resilience of the communities

What defines the local and risk assessment is not primarily the spatial scale. Regional and local assessments of climate risks are used to identify common goals and priorities for coordinated climate action, which are often expressed through collective adaptation plans and strategies. They are not solely defined by the spatial scale they cover. Instead, they are primarily focused on ensuring the prosperity and resilience of the communities in the region, as well as the safety and integrity of the environment in which they reside. Risk assessments may examine how climate variability and change affect farming and food production in rural areas dominated by agriculture, as an example. A regional climate risk assessment does not stop at evaluating the impact on individual farms, but rather it delves deeper to analyse how changes in farm profitability and viability may have a ripple effect on local employment, fiscal revenues and social services that rely on these revenues. 

Only such assessments can assist in collective decision-making on how to adapt production practices, support alternative employment opportunities and maintain essential community services. In essence, regional climate risk assessments may analyse the adverse effects of climate change on prominent businesses but aim to understand the consequences for the whole community. Similarly framed assessments are a critical element in creating a regional adaptation strategy that evaluates risks and opportunities, sets priorities and vision, and coordinates adaptation processes across various aspects of community living.