Cities across Europe must step up their adaptation efforts if they are to handle the increasingly complex challenges caused by climate change such as more extreme flooding or prolonged heatwaves. This is concluded in a report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Alterra has contributed substantially to the report.
The EEA report ‘Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 – transforming cities in a changing climate’, is launched at the third Open European Day at the Resilient Cities Conference in Bonn, Germany on 5 July 2016. It stresses the benefits of investing in long-term preventive measures that cities should take to improve their resilience. The report provides an in-depth overview of actions that urban planners and policymakers can take to help lessen the impact of climate change. The report outlines the changes and socio-economic challenges cities face due to climate change, and the possible consequences. It analyses the approaches cities can take to adaptation and explains that short-term coping or incremental adaptation measures alone will not be enough to mitigate the threats.
The report recommends that the best way to meet these challenges is to take a wider systemic approach that addresses the root causes of vulnerability to climate change. This includes better urban planning, with more green areas that can retain excess rainwater or cool built-up city cores in the summer, or by preventing the construction of houses in flood-prone areas. This approach can transform cities into much more attractive, climate-resilient and sustainable places.
Alterra has contributed substantially to the report, a.o. to defining the key messages and by providing information on the progress achieved in Europe since an earlier EEA report in 2012. Specific input was provided on knowledge generation, awareness raising and transformative adaptation.