EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, its acknowledgement of the need for systemic adaptation and the spotlight it shines on the need to support adaptation innovation.

One of the aims of the new climate adaptation strategy, released by the European Commission on 24 February 2021, is to shift the focus from understanding the problems to developing solutions (e.g. nature-based solutions for adaptation, investing in climate-proof infrastructure and local adaptation actions), and to move from planning to implementation of adaptation strategies and plans. 

The EU strategy highlights the need to accelerate the rollout of adaptation solutions and mentions EIT Climate-KIC as one of today’s key player in that space: “The lack of access to actionable solutions is one of the main barriers to adaptation. The EU Framework Programme and the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community already support adaptation innovation, but recent analysis shows the need to step it up.”

EIT Climate-KIC is working on climate adaptation with multiple and diverse stakeholders across Europe, and with the support of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

The organisation is orchestrating a portfolio of connected innovations in climate risk information, resilience and adaptation to activate levers of change simultaneously, experimenting with different ways to nudge critical systems – transport, built environment, health, land use, financial – towards resilience. This includes creating (i) open data platforms and standard-setting, (ii) inclusion of climate risk in financial ratings in credit and bonds, (iii) landscape-level climate risk studies and tailored information service design for public and private infrastructure, (iv) training and financial incentives for de-risking assets and emerging markets (v) public and business understanding of risk through simple schemes and installations, (vi) data and risk literacy approaches (e.g. training academies for civil protection, meteorological offices) and (vii) pro-resilience regulatory and policy recommendations.

Oasis Hub, with the support of EIT Climate-KIC, has already made high quality climate risk information and tools available across Europe. Their services support catastrophe modelling and risk analytics to help understand and manage catastrophe and climate-related risk, and build resilience.

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, mentioned EIT Climate-KIC on Twitter as one of the key players in accelerating the transformations to build a climate-resilient Europe.Mariya Gabriel

The need for locally-led climate adaptation plans

The new EU climate adaptation strategy highlights the importance of fostering local, individual, and just resilience. It says, “The local level is the bedrock of adaptation.” To this end, EIT Climate-KIC developed the Deep Demonstration of Resilient Regions and works with a group of European regions that are particularly exposed to climate impacts. Early partners include regional governments in Andalusia, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Dolomites and Glasgow. The programme takes a systems innovation approach to regional resilience and is using a Mission-based logic (the EU missions are an integral part of Horizon Europe framework programme).

“Adaptation innovation offers a much-needed opportunity to boost local climate resilience, generate jobs and connect efforts in climate mitigation and just transition as part of Europe’s leadership position on climate action,” says EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop. “EIT Climate-KIC has been at the heart of this push, and we are ready to be at the forefront of the desire to go faster, smarter, stronger and more systemic in the way described by the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change”. Dunlop will be addressing the High-Level Science Policy Panel of the launch of the EU Adaptation Strategy on 26 February.

Read more about EIT Climate-KIC’s most recent work around climate adaptation:

“We must come to the fact that a strict technological approach will not get us to net-zero, and we need to stop trying to find the perfect, one-size-fits-all climate solution. Instead, we need to put people first and focus on implementing a just transition for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable. Today is time to co-design mitigation and adaptation projects with the community, using the tools we already have around health, climate resilience, technological solutions, urban planning and so on,” says EIT Climate-KIC Director of UK and Ireland Andy Kerr in this article on how Edinburgh is building climate resilient infrastructure and communities.

With the urgent, widespread and systemic nature of climate change, technological innovations can be used synergistically with nature-based solutions to better adapt to its effects. “As soon as technology allows you to be agile, it can help,” said Daniel Zimmer, Head of Sustainable Land Use, EIT Climate-KIC in this article. “For instance, agriculture and forestry can benefit from innovative sensors and improved monitoring to develop new pest control strategies. And new precision machinery for tillage can be used to reduce soil carbon loss.”

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable manner, is fundamental to climate resilience. Field Factors, an EIT Climate-KIC supported start-up from the Netherlands, have developed Bluebloqs, a nature-based solution for decentralised water management in cities. Bluebloqs works by locally collecting, treating and storing stormwater. The integrated circular water system means the stormwater is then reused on site to meet local fresh water demand. Instead of rainwater being discharged into the sewer, the water is stored and reused, tackling a range of challenges by preventing sewer overflow, reducing flood risk and also contributing to a sustainable, locally sourced supply of freshwater. Read more in our article: Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution.

“We understand EIT Climate-KIC’s efforts on business creation as one of many essential factors that must all be part of a collaborative endeavour and whole economic and social approach to solving climate adaptation. And today, we are looking forward to building the connections between the locally-led business creation efforts that we have and the ways in which investors and the marketplace can help bring those solutions to scale,” writes EIT Climate-KIC Chief Strategy Officer, Tom Mitchell, in an opinion piece on boosting climate adaptation with innovation.

EIT Climate-KIC partner the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, has published the “Resilient Regions Reconnaissance Report” with the aim to identify and test modern-day assumptions that influence how we conceptualise innovation and tackle grand societal challenges such as climate change and COVID-19. Find out more about their new economic paradigms they propose to build resilience in this article. 

Start Park, the winner of the Most advanced idea at the Climathon Awards 2020 is using nature-based solutions in urban parks to increase climate resilience in Italian communities. The team has built a prototype that is replicable across Europe. Meet the team behind the project

Home to one third of Scotland’s population and provider of 33 per cent of the nation’s jobs, the Glasgow City Region is at risk from climate change. One of the Deep Demonstration of Resilient Regions chapter, the project Clyde Rebuilt aims to understand the web of interrelations that create the complex and interconnected challenges of the region and identify a variety of innovations that can be explored, combined, applied, and scaled, to help the region in becoming climate resilient. Learn more about how Clyde Rebuilt is creating the region’s climate adaptation plan.

 
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