Climate change is already happening and its effects will continue to have far-reaching consequences for human and natural systems. To prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, global warming needs to be limited to 2ºC above the pre-industrial temperature. That is just 1.2°C above today's level. To stay within this ceiling, mitigation actions are required that substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Europe is working hard to take these mitigation actions while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise. At the same time, the EU is developing a strategy for adapting to the impacts of climate change that can no longer be prevented.
Adaptation action is needed to protect people, buildings, infrastructure, businesses and ecosystems. Due to the varying severity and nature of climate impacts between regions in Europe most adaptation initiatives will be taken at national, regional or local level. Likewise, the ability to cope and adapt also differs across population, economic sectors and regions within Europe.
By complementing the activities of its Member States, the European Union can support action by promoting greater coordination and information sharing between Member States, and by ensuring that adaptation considerations are addressed in all relevant EU policies. In April 2013 the European Commission adopted the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change which sets out a framework and mechanisms for taking the EU's preparedness for current and future climate impacts to a new level. The EU strategy focuses on three key objectives: Promoting action by Member States; 'Climate-proofing' action at EU level; and Better informed decision-making.