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Assessing climate change risks and vulnerabilities

This step aims for a comprehensive picture of current and future climate risks and related opportunities as a basis for adaptation strategies and plans. Typically, climate change impact and vulnerability assessments (CCIV) are built upon:

  • information on current climate conditions and scenarios of future climate, including future slow on-set and extremes events,
  • an assessment of potential impacts of climate extremes and climate change on potentially vulnerable sectors
  • an analysis, which other underling factors and trends (ecosystem related, physical, technical, or socio-economic factors) are influencing climate risks in the respective sectors.

Based on this information and analysis, a CCIV Assessment summarizes the most relevant climate risks and vulnerabilities for single sectors or even across sectors. A focus lies on identifying the demand for adaptation by understanding critical climate impacts and related vulnerabilities within a system.

CCIVAs are based on a wide range of approaches to gather information, from data and model driven approaches (e.g. climate data, impact models) to more review, or expert based approaches. Assessment steps are usually performed in a participative manner with key stakeholder and experts.

There are no standards on how to conduct a CCIVA. However, an ISO-Norm (ISO/DIS 14091: Adaptation to climate change — Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment) was published, which contains a selection of good tools. National CCIVAs in Europe follow in general the sequence mentioned above. The choice of methods and approaches is ultimately influenced by the expectations, focus and purpose of the assessment as well as resource constraints. The EEA Report No 1/2018 on National climate change vulnerability and risk assessments in Europe provides a good overview on the approaches applied.