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Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change

European Commission



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Introduction: dealing with a changing climate. The consequences of climate change are increasingly being felt in Europe and worldwide. The average global temperature, currently around 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels, continues to rise[1]. Some natural processes are being altered, precipitation patterns are changing, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising.
To avoid the most serious risks of climate change and in particular large-scale irreversible impacts, global warming must be limited to below 2ºC above pre-industrial level. Climate change mitigation must therefore remain a priority for the global community.
Whatever the warming scenarios, and however successful mitigation efforts prove to be, the impact of climate change will increase in the coming decades because of the delayed impacts of past and current greenhouse gas emissions. We therefore have no choice but to take adaptation measures to deal with the unavoidable climate impacts and their economic, environmental and social costs. By prioritising coherent, flexible and participatory approaches, it is cheaper to take early, planned adaptation action than to pay the price of not adapting.
In view of the specific and wide ranging nature of climate change impacts on the EU territory, adaptation measures need to be taken at all levels, from local to regional and national levels. There is also a role for the European Union to fill both knowledge and action gaps and complement these efforts through the following EU Strategy.
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Conclusion. This Strategy sets out a framework and mechanisms for bringing the EU's preparedness for the current and future impacts of climate change up to a new level. It is proposed to do this by encouraging and supporting action by the EU Member States on adaptation, by creating a basis for better informed decision-making on adaptation in the years to come, and by making key economic and policy sectors more resilient to the effects of climate change.
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No. COM(2013) 216 final. (16 April 2013) 
Key: INRMM:14630741

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