Adaptation options

Author: Rijkswaterstaat/Jurriaan Brobbel; Source: - CC licensing

Image credits: Rijkswaterstaat/Jurriaan Brobbel on flickr

Adaptation aims to manage climate risk to an acceptable level, taking advantage of any positive opportunities that may arise. Adaptation options are measures and actions that can be implemented to improve adaptation to climate change. Climate-ADAPT provides a catalogue of potential adaptation options that can be explored below by selecting a specific climate impact and adaptation sector of interest. Case studies providing illustrative and inspiring examples of implemented adaptation options across Europe can be accessed through the Climate-ADAPT database.

Adaptation options can be categorized in grey, green and soft measures. Grey measures refer to technological and engineering solutions to improve adaptation of territory, infrastructures and people. Green measures are based on the ecosystem-based (or nature-based) approach and make use of the multiple services provided by natural ecosystems to improve resilience and adaptation capacity. Soft options include policy, legal, social, management and financial measures that can alter human behaviour and styles of governance, contributing to improve adaptation capacity and to increase awareness on climate change issues. Other ways to classify adaptation options are available; that proposed by the IPCC in its WG II AR5 report is one of the most commonly accepted (see Chapter 14: Adaptation needs and options). IPCC clusters adaptation options in three main categories, further divided in sub-categories: structural and physical options, social options and institutional options.

In the IPCC AR6 WG II report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (see Chapter 17: Decision Making Options for Managing Risk), IPCC clusters options based on eight different Representative Key Risks (RKRs): (1)Risk to coastal socio-ecological systems; (2)Risk to terrestrial and ocean ecosystems; (3)Risks associated with critical physical infrastructure, networks, and services; (4)Risk to living standards and equity; (5)Risk to human health;(6)Risk to food security; (7)Risk to water security;(8)Risk to peace and migration. For each RKR, three adaptation options are listed, leading to 24 options that cover a representative variety of strategies to adapt to climate change.

Adaptation options can be aimed at:

  • Accepting the impacts, and bearing the losses that result from risks (e.g. managing retreat from sea level rise)
  • Off-setting losses by sharing or spreading risks (e.g. through insurance)
  • Avoiding or reducing exposure to climate risks (e.g. building new flood defences, or changing location or activity)
  • Exploiting new opportunities (e.g. engaging in a new activity, or changing practices to take advantage of changing climatic conditions)

The efforts and costs for the maintenance of the adaptation options were not yet systematically reported for all Climate-ADAPT adaptation options. Alongside with the implementation of the adaptation measures, the efforts and costs for their maintenance should be carefully considered for an effective long-term adaptation process.

The implementation of measures must be coordinated at the proper spatial scale, fit to the specific local context and compliant with national and subnational regulations and plans. Even though implemented at the local scale, adaptation options often require coordination with higher levels of governance to ensure sustainable and harmonised spatial planning of the whole region.

Highlighted resources

Relevant tile

Explore adaptation options

Relevant tile

{'sector': None, 'count': u'9', 'bio_regions': None, 'search_text': None, 'countries': None, 'css_class': None, 'title': u'Explore adaptation options', 'nr_items': 9, 'search_type': [u'MEASURE'], 'element_type': None, 'sortBy': u'RATING', 'macro_regions': None, 'combine_results': None, 'funding_programme': None, 'origin_website': None, 'special_tags': None, 'show_share_btn': None, 'uuids': None}