Europe must lead on adaptation

Europe's 'know-how' on climate adaptation needs to be made available to other countries. Martin Parry outlines the priority issues.

By Martin Parry

Impacts from climate change cannot be fully avoided by mitigation. Some impacts can be observed now as a result of the 0.7C warming above pre-industrial levels that has already been recorded. Even if emissions stopped altogether this very minute, then a further 0.6C warming would occur due to past emissions. A depressing conclusion, is that 1.3C of warming is unavoidable. The challenge, now, is for us to do our utmost not to commit to ourselves to further amounts of warming that might exceed our capacity to adapt. A target now being discussed in the talks leading up to and at the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC is to avoid exceeding 2C of warming. What is often missed in this debate is the enormous challenge that 2C warming (even if we were to avoid exceeding it) would place on our abilities to adapt read more »

This article is a part of the magazine 'Climate Adaptation in Europe'

December 2009