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16.05.2012 | PublicationsUrban adaptation to climate change in Europe
Challenges and opportunities for cities
Around three quarters of Europeans live in cities. Most of Europe's wealth is generated in cities, and urban areas are particularly at risk due to climate change. Europe should seize the opportunity of improving quality of life while adapting to climate change in cities, according to a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report also warns that delaying adaptation will be much more costly in the long-term.
The report is the first Europe-wide assessment of urban vulnerability to climate change. It argues that the distinct design and composition of urban areas compared to rural areas alters climate change impacts in cities, leading to many diverse challenges for cities within Europe. For example, a lot of artificial surfaces and little vegetation exacerbates heatwaves in cities . This so-called 'urban heat island' effect leads to much higher temperatures in cities than in the surrounding area.
The report provides generic advice for adapting cities to climate change and examples of best practice. The recently launched European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT provides a comprehensive web resource aimed at policy makers and 'practitioners' – engineers, planners and administrators – who can obtain adaptation knowledge in Europe and learn from the experience of others facing similar challenges already carrying out adaptation actions elsewhere.
Source: European Environment Agency