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by Jochen Hinkel, Darryn McEvoy, Markus Wrobel, Kate Lonsdale, H. Asbjørn Aaheim, Richard J.T. Klein and Tom E. Downing

There is a wide consensus that Europe and the rest of the world need to adapt to climate change. Not only has the global mean temperature risen by almost 1 degree C since the onset of industrialisation, there has been an observable increase in floods, droughts and other climate-related extreme events. But who exactly needs to adapt? And what needs to be done?

There is no single answer to these questions. Impacts, experienced or expected, differ for different people, regions or sectors. For example, whilst the Mediterranean tourism sector is likely to face challenges as a result of temperature increases and decreasing water availability, the visitor economy in Northern Europe may benefit from the new opportunities arising from a warmer, more stable, summer season. There is also no single recipe for adapting to these impacts. In fact, the adaptation situations we find in Europe and beyond are diverse and often complex, involving multiple actors at different scales, differing perceptions about what the problem is and a lack of consensus as to what constitutes effective responses.

Furthermore, the information we currently have about impacts and adaptation is still uncertain, incomplete and fragmented. While we have some idea of what level of impacts to expect for some regions and sectors, we know little about what might happen in others. Being a relatively new field of research, practical evidence of the extent, feasibility, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of potential adaptation options remains largely lacking. Hence, adaptation is rarely a simple decision based on certainty about impacts and effective adaptation options, rather adaptation is a continuous process of learning between actors and institutions at all levels of decision making.

This Digital Compendium contributes to emerging knowledge on adaptation by acting as a portal for the dissemination of the transdisciplinary results from the following five types of analysis carried out in the ADAM Project:

  • Workshops and interviews were conducted and synthesised into key messages about what supports and what hinders adaptation and a set of learning examples that describe the experiences that decision makers and organisations have gained in the adaptation learning processes.
  • A meta-analysis of climate change impact, vulnerability and adaptation case studies was performed in order to give a systematic account of what is known in the literature.
  • A macro-economic analysis was conducted to estimate the monetary effects of climate change and adaptation for different European countries.
  • An adaptation catalogue was developed to collate information on possible adaptation measures including the extent, feasibility, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of these options.
  • Finally, an analysis of risk of climate-related extremes such as floods and droughts was performed in order to produce risk / damage maps for Europe.

You can access the results of these analyses in three complementary ways:

  • by type of analysis: View the results of each type of analysis directly by selecting the associated tab in the main navigation bar (at the top of each page).
  • by keyword search: All of the content is consistently labelled by region, sector and hazard. Thus, you can flexibly select content of interest across all five sections by applying the keyword search. In addition, you may follow the keyword hyperlinks on top of each page to obtain a list all Compendium pages labelled with the same keyword.
  • by free text search: Alternatively, use free text search to browse all Compendium content.
Note: Each page lists the name(s) of its respective author(s).
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  • © 2009 ADAM, Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: Supporting European climate policy