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European Climate Risk Assessment

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In May 2022, the Directorate-General for Climate Action of the European Commission (DG CLIMA) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) initiated the preparation of the first European Climate Risk Assessment (EUCRA).  

The EUCRA assesses current and future climate change impacts and risks relating to the environment, economy and wider society in Europe.  

The first EUCRA is a fast-tracked and expert-driven assessment primarily based on a review and synthesis of existing data and knowledge from various sources. The assessment focuses specifically on complex climate risks such as cross-border, cascading and compound risks.   

Policy context

The EU Adaptation Strategy sets out how the European Union can adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change and become climate resilient by 2050. The Strategy proposes to step up adaptation planning and risk assessments as one of the key steps towards achieving smarter, swifter and more systematic adaptation in Europe. It explicitly states under No. 14: “Building on its overview of natural and man-made disaster risks the European Union may face, relevant research projects, its series of PESETA reports, and taking into account existing sector regulations, the Commission will draw up an EU-wide climate risk assessment.

The European Parliament resolution of 15 September 2022 also urged the Commission to draw up an EU-wide climate risk assessment and to pay special attention to the risks of droughts, forest fires and health threats.

More recently, on 4 October 2023, the new EU Commissioner for Climate Action stated during his hearing in the European Parliament that he will oversee the work on preparedness to climate-related risks and pointed at the EUCRA to identify climate risk owners and those best placed to act. He also raised that the report will inform identification of priorities for the new Commission and help them to develop more climate resilient and robust policies and instruments for the future.

The first EUCRA will support the identification of adaptation-related policy priorities in Europe and EU policy development in climate-sensitive sectors. It may also provide an EU-wide point of reference for conducting and updating national or subnational climate risk assessments.

What products will EUCRA deliver?

The EUCRA will comprise the following products:

  • EUCRA report (published by EEA)
  • Executive summary
  • Complementary products, including an interactive data viewer and technical background documents

What is the added value of EUCRA?

The EUCRA seeks to complement the existing knowledge base on the assessment of climate-related hazards and risks in Europe and provide added value for policymaking in the following areas:

  • Using state-of-the-art model outcomes and scientific literature;
  • Systematic assessment of the magnitude of current and future key climate risks;
  • Addressing compound hazards, cross-border risks, cascading risks, and systemic risks;
  • Involving stakeholders from the European Commission throughout the assessment process;
  • Assessing the European policy context, risk ownership, and urgency for action for each key risk; and
  • Providing complementary interactive tools on climate hazards and risks.

    What is the timeframe?

    The publication of the first EUCRA is scheduled for spring 2024. 

    Who is involved?

    The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action and the EEA jointly lead the preparation of EUCRA.   

    The implementing partners are:

    The EUCRA also involves a large number of external experts, policymakers and other stakeholders during different phases of the project, including: 

    • An Expert Advisory Group
    • A Risk Review Panel
    • A Working Group of the European Commission
    • Eionet Group on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation

    What is the general approach and methodology?  

    The EUCRA applies the climate risk concept of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and follow the risk assessment guidelines of ISO 31000 and ISO 14091 where feasible.

    Source: UNDRR (adapted)

     

    The EUCRA addresses climate risks in four macroregions in Europe (Northern Europe, Central-Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Southern Europe) subject to data availability. 

    EUCRA presents relevant knowledge on climate-related risks, including in-depth risk descriptions and analysis, in two formats: 

    • Risk storylines report on selected key compound risks across sectors and systems that have the potential to put Europe into a crisis, such as “failure of critical infrastructure and services”.  
    • Thematic factsheets report about key climate risks for eight selected systems and sectors, such as “biodiversity and ecosystems”, “food security”, and “human health”.  

    Based on existing scientific evidence, EUCRA conducts a structured risk analysis and evaluation. The risk analysis classifies key risks into classes of different severity, based on their potential for severe consequences for Europe. The risk evaluation phase evaluates the urgency for EU action considering risk severity over time, confidence in the risk severity assessment, and the temporal aspects of potential adaptation actions jointly with risk ownership, policy readiness, and the policy horizon. The risk evaluation is done by the EUCRA authors, and independently reviewed by a Risk Review Panel.  

    Which data and knowledge sources will be used?

    The EUCRA builds on available data and knowledge from previous assessments of climate-related hazards and risks in Europe and at the global level and coordinate with ongoing European assessments to ensure the complementarity of results.

    Key sources of data and knowledge include:

    Where does the funding come from?

    The project is funded by the European Commission. In addition, in-kind contributions are provided by other contributing organisations, including EEA, JRC and C3S.

    Contact

    EUCRA@eea.europa.eu