Climate change adaptation in European cities

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European cities face a range of challenges over the coming decades that will influence the nature of urban growth and development across the continent. Climate change is central amongst these, and will have direct implications for urban processes through changes to temperature and precipitation patterns. As European cities contribute to and are supported by tightly coupled global networks of socio-economic and biophysical goods and services, many of which are influenced by weather and climate, a changing climate will present complex and uncertain indirect impacts for cities to contend with. Climate change adaptation relates to responding to the risks and potential opportunities associated with changing climates. Although adaptation appears at present to be a relatively low priority issue for city planners and governors in Europe, there are examples from policy and practice that demonstrate positive activity in this field. Although these initiatives do not always have adaptation as their primary focus, they do highlight progress in this arena and offer transferable lessons to other cities aiming to address the impacts of a changing climate. However, there remain a series of barriers to progress that relate to issues such as policy and governance frameworks, and more nebulous issues including complexity and uncertainty in climate science and institutional structures. These barriers must be acknowledged and addressed as a part of an approach that responds holistically to the adaptation challenge that faces European cities in the coming decades. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


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