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Perspectives on Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe
Many regions in Europe are vulnerable to climate change impacts and these have already been observed in many human and natural systems. There is therefore a need for all European countries to adapt to climate change. However, climate change does not pose a threat at all levels of change, nor in a similar way across all economic sectors and regions. Impacts of climate change vary by region, with the Mediterranean basin, north western and central-eastern Europe, and the Arctic, together with many coastal zones and other areas prone to river floods, mountains, and cities being particularly vulnerable. Consequently, adaptation options have to be tailor-made to local geographic conditions in terms of vulnerable landscape types and sectors involved. This is why European and national adaptation strategies must be complemented by regional approaches that address implementation issues at this scale. The European Union (EU) Adaptation White Paper together with national and regional adaptation strategies provide key steps toward European frameworks for adaptation measures and policies to strengthen resilience to climate change impacts. Monitoring and evaluation methods must be further developed, so that adaptation practices can be assessed across time and space. A preliminary set of success factors and barriers to adaptation is also important to identify and assess the determinants of good practices and assist stakeholders in developing robust adaptation strategies that can make Europe more resilient to climate change. Potential conflicts, synergies, and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation have also to be identified early in the decision-making process, and adaptation and mitigation efforts should be coordinated.