A detailed plan of action, setting out how, when and by whom specific adaptation measures should be implemented is crucial to achieve adaptation on the ground. To develop this plan of action it is important to identify potential adaptation options (in this step) and narrow them down (see Step 4)

This step assists national and sub-national authorities to identify potential adaptation options and collect relevant information for these options in a portfolio, which will facilitate further prioritisation of the options.

Adaptation options aim to address the previously identified concerns also arising from climate change vulnerability and risk assessments (see Step 2) to bring negative or adverse impacts of climate change at an acceptable level and can reduce the risks. Further, adaptation options may allow taking advantage of any positive opportunities that arise from climate change. Adaptation options can range from actions that build adaptive capacity (e.g. knowledge creation and sharing information, creating supportive institutional frameworks) or establish management systems and supportive mechanisms (e.g. better land management planning, insurance mechanisms) to adaptation actions implemented on the ground, e.g. physical or ecosystem-based measures. This step facilitates an exploration of potential adaptation options and helps to identify relevant actions.

To categorise the different types of adaptation options, the EEA has developed a set of Key Types of Measures (KTMs). Next to providing an overview of all types of measures, as those are wider than physical and technological interventions only, one of the main expected advantages of KTMs for adaptation is the improvement of the quality of reporting, both in terms of the user/reporter experience and of the reporting output data itself. In turn, more harmonized reporting and clearer outputs are expected to support the enhancement of adaptation planning and monitoring at the EU level, and consequently at the Member State level.

Table 1: KTMs, Sub-KTMs and Specifications




A: Governance and Institutional

A1: Policy instruments

  • Creation / revision of policies
  • Creation/ revision of (implementing) regulations

A2: Management and planning

  • Mainstreaming adaptation into other sectors
  • Creation / revision of technical rules, codes and standards

A3: Coordination, cooperation and networks

  • Creation / revision of ministerial coordination formats
  • Creation / revision of stakeholder networks

B: Economic and Finance

B1: Financing and incentive instruments

  • Creation / revision of incentive mechanisms
  • Creation / revision of funding schemes

B2: Insurance and risk                    sharing instruments

  • Creation / revision of insurance schemes and products
  • Creation / revision of contingency funds for emergencies

C: Physical and Technological

C1: Grey options

  • New physical infrastructure(s)
  • Rehabilitation, upgrade and / or replacement of physical infrastructure(s)

C2: Technological options

  • Early warning systems
  • Hazard / risk mapping
  • Service / process applications

D: Nature Based Solutions and Ecosystem-based Approaches

D1: Green options

  • Creation of new / improvement of existing green infrastructure
  • Natural       and/or       semi-natural       land-use management

D2: Blue options

  • Creation of new / improvement of existing blue infrastructure
  • Natural and / or semi-natural water and marine areas management

E: Knowledge and Behavioural change

E1: Information and awareness raising

  • Research and innovation
  • Communication and dissemination
  • Decision support tools and databases

E2: Capacity building, empowering        and lifestyle practices

  • Identification and sharing of good practices
  • Training and knowledge transfer
  • Reporting on lifestyle practices and behaviours

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 the risks or losses (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).

Adaptation options need to cover a broad range of issues, including technological, informational, organizational, behavioural, ecosystem-based and socio‐economic at various governance levels, sectoral as well as cross‐sectoral. There are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5°C, with associated losses. Once the main concerns have been identified, possible adaptation options shall be collected. On Climate-ADAPT, users´can find a broad set of adaptation options, searchable by impact and by (economic) sector.

This section facilitates an exploration of potential adaptation options and helps identify relevant actions, and their potential co-benefits.

Additional, the IPPC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, concludes that a wide range of adaptation options is available to reduce climate risks.

Building adaptive capacity involves developing the ability of people and systems to respond effectively to climate change. This includes gathering and sharing information from the following areas:

  • accessing research results or participating in research projects,
  • monitoring data and relevant information sources, and
  • raising awareness through education, sharing experiences and training initiatives, and
  • creating a supportive institutional framework, by e.g.:
    • changing standards,
    • amending legislation,
    • establishing funding mechanism(s)
    • providing good practice guidance, and
    • developing appropriate policies, plans and strategies.

When compiling measures attention should be given to:

  • choosing adaptation options responding to the vulnerabilities identified,
  • including also non-conventional and innovative solutions (doing business as usual often hampers adaptation),
  • creating a good mix of different types of options (e.g. technical and non-technical);
  • putting long-term goals above short-term political interests.

Please explore adaptation options here.

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