Policy papers

The state of urban climate adaptation in Europe

20 October 2020

There is an urgent need to change the way we plan and construct our cities so that we minimise climate related hazards, claims a new report by the European Environment Agency that gives an overview of climate risks to cities.

This year, the urgent need to improve our resilience to shocks of an unprecedented scale was made clear in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the authors of this report, the potential shocks from climate change will be little different, and finding ways to cope with the impacts of climate change will require very localised efforts

Thanks to initiative like the Covenant of Mayors, as well as the inclusion of urban adaptation in national adaptation strategies, the number of towns and cities already committed to acting on climate adaptation has grown significantly in recent years.

Nonetheless, “heatwaves, heavy precipitation, flooding and droughts will remain the most pronounced climate change impacts facing European cities, but other risks such as wildfires and vector-borne diseases are on the rise”.

What’s more, the authors find that not enough research has been undertaken on how cities can successfully address climate change – -with nature based solutions so far emerging at the most feasible option.

With this in mind, one hope for the European Green Deal is that it should be an opportunity, firstly to further emphasise the importance of climate adaptation as a key policy area to be mainstreamed, and secondly to identify gaps where EU and national level support can better help cities

Read the report here.