Gestión de conservación en un clima cambiante
Los espacios naturales europeos necesitan una gestión que tenga en cuenta los probables impactos del cambio climático.
Mediante el trabajo 'Gestión Adaptable Basada en el Espacio' prestamos especial atención a la adaptación de los espacios para hacer frente a la amenaza del cambio climático. Lograremos el compromiso de socios para encontrar y crear ejemplos de la mejor práctica, encontrando nuevas vías de trabajo e innovación. De modo significativo, tratamos de conseguir que los espacios especiales tengan en cuenta la gestión de las zonas de separación, las conexiones entre hábitats y los pasos que los unen.
Este es un elemento esencial para mitigar el cambio climático en los espacios gestionados por la red. Eurosite reconoce el papel que juegan muchos de nuestros miembros y socios para acercar a la gente a la naturaleza y trabajar con ellos para la integración de asuntos culturales y económicos – un elemento clave de adaptación al cambio climático.
El cambio climático es uno de los mayores retos para la gestión de espacios en el siglo 21. Creemos que Eurosite se encuentra en una buena posición para hacer frente este desafío.
Eurosite respuesta al 'the EC Green Paper: 'Adapting to Climate Change in Europe - Options for EU Action';* (en inglés)
On 29 June, the European Commission adopted its first policy document on adapting to the impacts of climate change. This Green Paper "adaptation to climate change in Europe - options for EU action", builds upon the work and findings of the European Climate Change Programme. The paper argues that we are now faced with a double challenge: next to deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions we also need to adapt to the changing climate conditions. The paper describes possible avenues for action at EU level. Its main objective is to kick-start a Europe-wide public debate and consultation on how to take it forward.
Between August and December 2007, the European Commission opened a public consultation on the Green Paper - a dedicated web-based survey made it possible for individuals and groups to offer feedback on 28 questions posed by the Green Paper.
Eurosite surveyed its membership to solicit a group response to these questions - a summary of Eurosite member feedback is provided below. The following information, collated from various network member responses, is not necessarily the opinion of the Eurosite network.
PUTTING ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION INTO PERSPECTIVE [Sections 1-3 (pp. 3-8)]
1. What will be the most severe impacts on Europe's natural environment, economy and society?
Natural environment: water scarcity/drought in southern Europe, intensity of rainfall in northern Europe, frequency of extreme weather events, increasing risk of wild fires, glacial retreat, CO2 release from permafrost melt, coastal flooding due to sea level rise, acidification of sea water, shifts in geographic range of species, changes in ecosystem structure and function, extinction of species/loss of habitats (e.g. mountain, Arctic), impacts of non-native invasive species.
Economy: effects of floods/drought/temperature rise on agricultural production, impacts on tourism, cost of coastal/riverine flood management, cost of insurance and health care.
Social: displacement of human populations due to food shortages and coastal/riverine flooding, migration of peoples from outside the EU, health hazards due to heat stress and 'new' diseases, individuals in society feeling powerless to act.
2. Which of the adverse effects of climate change identified in the Green Paper and its Annex concern you most?
The rate of climate change, coupled with the increasing frequency of extreme weather and sea level rise pose unprecedented threats to the environment, economy and society. The loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services are, however, of primary concern in that these are fundamental underpins to all life systems, including those of humankind. Climate change will exacerbate existing pressures on the natural world. This will not only have serious implications for the health and resilience of the EU's habitats and species, but also will impact on the quality of air, soils and water, thereby damaging human health, social well-being and economic prosperity. It is vital, therefore, that the roles of biodiversity and ecosystem services are fully recognized and that their conservation is placed at the forefront of EU adaptation policy.
3. Should further important impacts be added? If yes, which ones?
Existing pressures on species and habitats: climate change could 'tip the balance' and threaten the viability of natural systems already under pressure from other sources. Fragmentation of wildlife habitat: species occupying isolated habitat remnants are becoming increasingly vulnerable, as many are unable to move in response to climate change. Changes in ecosystem services: climate change will affect species compositions/interactions within ecosystems and therefore their function and the services provided to humankind. Marine biodiversity and ecosystems: the effects of rising sea levels, increasing salinity, acidification, changing riverine discharge etc on marine systems must be addressed. Indirect impacts: the adaptation and mitigation responses of other sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water) will have major implications for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
EUROPE MUST ADAPT - CHALLENGES FOR EUROPEAN SOCIETY AND EUROPEAN PUBLIC POLICY [Section 4 (pp. 9-13)]
4. Does the green paper place the right urgency and emphasis on the matter of adaptation in Europe?
The Green Paper makes a credible case for adaptation and this is largely based on the Stern report (2007). However, recent research suggests that previously unstudied components of the climate system may be driving change at a faster rate than either IPCC or Stern estimate, adding greater urgency to the need for early action. Additionally, the scale of the changes needed in many sectors should be made clearer as these will often be fundamental and a radical departure from existing practices. The timescale from the commencement to the implementation of an adaptation measure should not be underestimated and further highlights the need for early action. A stronger case needs to be made for demonstrating the economic value of investing in the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems if a case is to be made for maintaining the services upon which societies and economies ultimately depend.
5. What should be the different roles of EU, national, regional, local authorities and the private sector?
Adaptation policy should be action orientated and prepare people for the changes that will directly affect them. The EU should establish an over-arching adaptation framework based on a set of core principles. The importance of protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services should be central to these principles. This would provide a means for the EU to give leadership, direction and guidance to Member States. National governments should prepare adaptation strategies through which priorities and targets are set and actions coordinated. From these, regional and local authorities should develop action plans and delivery mechanisms and work with the private sector to meet adaptation goals. Local decisions, together with examples of good practice, will be key to the success of on-the-ground adaptation.
6. Which economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change should be addressed at EU level as a matter of priority?
The EU has Europe-wide responsibility for a number of policy areas that are likely to be directly impacted by climate change. These include agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water, energy and biodiversity. There is a clear role for the EU in contributing to the delivery of adaptation through its integration into existing policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the Water Framework Directive, and the Habitats and Birds Directives. The Green Paper states that ecosystem services must lie at the centre of any adaptation policy and recognises that the impacts of climate change on human well-being are essentially mediated by natural systems. The overriding priority must therefore be to provide resources to ensure the delivery of services provided by terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, with the health of these systems being maintained by strong resilient populations of the full range of biodiversity.
7. Apart from the main priority areas identified in the four-action approach, are there other areas that have been missed out? If yes, which?
The Green Paper falls short of developing a truly strategic vision for adaptation and fails to adequately demonstrate the scale of leadership that the EU should be providing. The importance of the EU in establishing an over-arching framework through which it can provide political leadership and direct a synergistic, cross-sectoral, inclusive approach to adaptation across Europe cannot be overstressed.
FOCUSING EU ACTION - PRIORITY OPTIONS FOR A FLEXIBLE FOUR PRONGED APPROACH [Section 5]
The first pillar: Early action in the EU [5.1 (pp. 14-21)]
8. Does section 5.1 correctly and comprehensively identify the needs and policy priorities for early adaptation actions that should either be taken or coordinated at the EU level?
The impacts of sea level rise on the EU's coastal communities and ecosystems are underplayed and should be give greater prominence. Climate change will have significant impacts on the EU's urban areas; urban green space can provide adaptation services such as shading, cooling and water storage/flood alleviation. Forestry has a key role in adaptation and mitigation; it has close links with agriculture and biomass production and should be explicitly included in the list of land use sectors. Tourism receives no specific mention, yet the implications of climate change for the industry - both threats and opportunities - are likely to be considerable. The development of bio-energy should be addressed, as it is likely to have impacts on the adaptation of other sectors including agriculture, forestry, biodiversity and spatial planning.
9. How do policy priorities need to change for different sectors? Which policy approaches should be taken at national, regional or local level? Where is European action needed?
Whilst mainstreaming adaptation across policies and sectors requires action at all levels of governance, the EU should focus on policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries and biodiversity where it has Europe-wide responsibility. Adaptation must be integrated into existing policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the Habitats and Birds Directives, and the Water Framework Directive. Implementation of policy and the delivery of adaptation measures should be the responsibility of Member States. National governments should prepare adaptation strategies from which regional and local authorities can develop action plans and delivery mechanisms. To assist in mainstreaming adaptation, an over-arching EU adaptation framework should be considered. This would be based on a set of core principles and provide a means for the EU to give leadership, direction and guidance to Member States.
10. How can EU agriculture and fisheries policy be adapted to help these sectors adjust to the impacts of climate change? What will be the likely consequences of climate change for trade in agricultural products?
A sustainable land management policy for Europe would determine the sorts goods and services needed from land by society as climate changes and help make rational choices about competing land uses. Climate change reinforces the need to consider agricultural policy in the context of a wider policy setting and the inclusion of adaptation as a major objective of the Common Agricultural Policy. There are likely to be sectoral, societal and environmental benefits from such a policy shift. The CAP could, for example, deliver adaptation objectives for biodiversity by increasing the connectivity between fragmented habitats, allowing species to shift in response to changing climatic conditions. The CAP could also contribute to the provision of ecosystem services such as water storage and flood plain management in river flood plains.
11. How should the EU express its solidarity with regions suffering most heavily from the consequences of climate change?
Climate change will have a range impacts across the EU and will affect regions and Member States in differing ways. This will have major implications for the EU's regional and cohesion policy and should be a fundamental consideration before it can offer technical and financial assistance to the worst affected areas. For example, understanding the implications of the degradation of ecosystem services for GDP needs to be strengthened, with regional and cohesion policy being more focused on supporting the environmental underpin of the EU's social and economic development.
12. How could a collective European response help coastal Europe to tackle the effects of rising sea levels?
Sea level rise is a critical trans-boundary issue that requires leadership from the EU and coordinated action across Member States. The concept of Integrated Coastal Zone Management is important in determining sustainable approaches to the management of coastal communities and coastal ecosystems. It is vital that policy emphasis shifts away from hard engineered solutions to erosion control and flood defense, to maintaining and improving sediment supplies through allowing, where possible, natural processes to shape the ecology and structure of coastal areas.
13. How should EU policy on public health take the impact of climate change into account?
EU public health policy must consider both the direct and indirect impacts of climate change and the differential effects, particularly on the most vulnerable groups in society. The role of biodiversity and ecosystems in delivering positive health benefits must be recognized. This is most notably in urban environments where green space can reduce heat stress and help alleviate flooding.
14. What will be the consequences of climate change for Member States' potential energy mix and for European energy policy?
Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns will have significant implications for the production and use of energy in the EU. These will include reductions in water supplies for hydropower and cooling conventional power stations, improvements in opportunities for solar energy, and increasing demands for air conditioning. The EU's energy targets are designed to meet these challenges. However, because of the potential impacts of these options on biodiversity and ecosystems, it is important that each is subject to strategic environmental assessment. The potential increase in biofuels production, for example, should be tied to strict environmental and social conditions covering both domestic (EU) and imported products.
15. Please rank the listed options under each of the areas of the four-action approach for EU adaptation into the following three categories:
A risk assessment is necessary to effectively carry out a prioritization exercise. This should be repeated on a regular basis (every five years) as climate change becomes more intense and its impacts more severe. It is, therefore, not possible rank listed options, but instead identify the most immediate priorities.
a) Most urgent and to be implemented by the Commission as a matter of priority.
- Establish EU-wide framework setting-out key principles for adaptation across Europe.
- Develop programme of action to review/amend existing EU mechanisms.
- Consider adaptation in EU policy reviews (e.g. CAP 'health check', review of Cohesion policy, EU budget).
b) Low priority for Commission implementation.
c) Irrelevant for Commission implementation.
16. What are the possible synergies between adaptation and mitigation measures? How can these synergies be strengthened?
Certain approaches to land management benefit both mitigation and adaptation. Avoiding deforestation and restoring damaged and degraded peatlands, for example, reduces carbon loss, aids carbon sequestration and contributes to safeguarding biodiversity. An EU adaptation framework would help join-up between adaptation and mitigation policy by ensuring synergistic policy responses that reduce the risk of inconsistencies.
17. In the context of EU policy, how can companies and citizens be encouraged to participate in adaptation actions?
People are most receptive to factual information that is relevant to their own lives. Graphic visualizations of change as a result of climate change can be a starting point in encouraging behavioural change. The EU can play a role here in encouraging the development of visualization techniques for use across sectors and across Member States.
THE SECOND PILLAR: INTEGRATING ADAPTATION INTO EU EXTERNAL ACTIONS [5.2 (pp. 21-24)]
18. How will climate change affect the policy priorities of the EU's external policies?
The statement in the consultation paper that "Reducing conventional pressures on ecosystems and making them more resilient to climate change must be the basis for forceful action, together with climate change proofing to ensure sustainability of investments" must be reflected in the policy priorities of the EU's external policies. From a biodiversity perspective, these should take account of the impacts of climate change on migratory and trans-boundary species, particularly birds and marine organisms. Increased funding should be allocated to the Environment and Natural Resources Programme in support of this and external guidance on adaptation strengthened.
19. Which priorities should the EU set for its co-operation programmes in the different parts of the World with respect to adaptation to climate change?
NO RESPONSE GIVEN
20. Which are the main opportunities and obstacles for adaptation in different parts of the World?
NO RESPONSE GIVEN
21. What are the best options to make the EU's external action more resilient to climate change?
NO RESPONSE GIVEN
22. What could be the value added for EU action compared to other international initiatives including, for instance, the UNFCCC and multi-lateral funding instruments?
The EU's lead on climate change mitigation has been essential in stimulating global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This should be mirrored in driving forward action on adaptation.
THE THIRD PILLAR: REDUCING UNCERTAINTY BY EXPANDING THE KNOWLEDGE BASE THROUGH INTEGRATED CLIMATE RESEARCH [5.3 (pp. 24-26)]
23. Do the listed research areas address the most important knowledge gaps? If not, please add?
Whilst the research areas listed 'broadly' address the most important knowledge gaps, biodiversity, ecosystems and the services that they provide are not sufficiently represented within the current framework. This should be rectified in order to better integrate adaptation for the natural environment into social and economic policy. Additionally, little is understood about the links between biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Ecosystem resilience is important in the context of climate change in that it enables a system to adapt while continuing to provide the services upon which humans depend.
24. Which are the five most important research areas that need to be addressed as a matter of priority?
Improve spatial resolution and certainty of climate models so that projections of impacts on all sectors at regional and local scales are more robust. Develop comprehensive and integrated methodologies to assess impacts, vulnerability and risk and devise adaptation options, including indicators to measure responses. Improve understanding of relationships between land use and 'permeability' of landscapes to inform adaptation of biodiversity policy and conservation practice to climate change. Improve understanding of impacts of climate change on the marine environment, including consequences for biodiversity and the structure and function of marine ecosystems. Develop and agree clear principles upon which to base adaptation strategies for biodiversity and ecosystems across Europe.
25. How should research results be communicated and made available to decision makers and a broader public at local, national, EU-level and internationally?
EEA's EIONET approach provides a framework for the exchange of information on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation between Member States, scientists and decision makers. EIONET should be helpful to countries preparing national adaptation strategies and give an overview and examples of successful adaptation practice and initiatives. Existing country-level sectoral networks (such as those set up to deliver Biodiversity Action Plans in the UK) should also be used to disseminate information to regional and local stakeholders.
THE FOURTH PILLAR: INVOLVING EUROPEAN SOCIETY, BUSINESS AND THE PUBLIC SECTOR IN THE PREPARATION OF COORDINATED AND COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGIES [5.4 (pp. 26-27)]
26. Does the Green Paper foresee sufficient participation of the different stakeholders in identifying and implementing EU adaptation actions?
This area is currently very weak and there are doubts as to whether it will currently achieve real outcomes, particularly through participation of wider social and economic interests (notably the private sector). A truly integrated approach is required if effective measures are to be identified and implemented. This will require comprehensive policy appraisals by stakeholder groups within and across key sectors, with emphasis being placed on potential synergies between sectors.
27. Should stakeholders from the EU's neighbours and other regions be involved?
It will be vital for the EU to engage with neighbouring countries and other regions in delivering adaptation. Climate change and its impacts do not respect geopolitical boundaries and there are significant implications here for the environment, economies and societies. In the context of biodiversity, adaptation strategies to enhance the connectivity between fragmented habitats to assist the movement of species as they track climate change across the landscape have to be trans-boundary to be effective.
28. Would the establishment of a European Advisory Group on Adaptation be helpful in further exploring a EU response to the effects of climate change? If yes, which areas should such an Advisory Group concentrate its work on?
As adaptation to climate change will require far-reaching changes to policy, behaviour and practice, some form of advisory group to help create the necessary momentum to drive the process is essential. Such a group would advise the EU on the development of core principles upon which to base an adaptation framework, as well as having a scrutiny and monitoring role. Importantly, it would have an "outward-looking" focus, a clear emphasis on communication and be directed towards advising and assisting Member States in delivering adaptation across the range of sectors in accord with the core principles.
*The Green paper is available from European Commission at:
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