Adaptation to climate change at local level in Europe: An overview

F.C. Aguiar*, J. Bentz, J.M.N. Silva, A.L. Fonseca, R.J. Swart, F.D. Santos, Gil Penha-Lopes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Europe’s climate change vulnerability pushes for initiatives such as the European Adaptation Strategy and the associated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. What are the triggers and barriers, for which sectors and for which risks and how is adaptation funded? This paper examines 147 Local Adaptation Strategies in Europe. Key triggers were incentives via research projects, implementation of EU policies and the increasing frequency of extreme climate events. Insufficient resources, capacity, political commitment and uncertainty were the main barriers. Prioritized sectors reflected the main local vulnerabilities - flood protection and water management, built environment and urban planning. Differing patterns of adaptation planning and adaptive capacity were identified among different regions in Europe. Large municipalities generally fund adaptation locally, whereas international and national funding appears to be more important for adaptation in less urban or densely populated territories. The database of LAS described in the present study can be expanded and used to increase the understanding of and promotion of local adaptation action in Europe and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-63
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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