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Project information

The objective of the RESPONSES project is to identify and assess integrated EU climate-change policy responses that achieve ambitious mitigation and environmental targets and, at the same time, reduce the Union's vulnerability to inevitable climate-change impacts.

The sub-objectives of the project are:

  • To develop a set of global low emission scenarios, differentiated by key countries
  • To develop an appropriate research protocol that builds on a portfolio of policy assessment tools
  • To develop and assess strategies for integrating mitigation and adaptation to climate impacts     into existing EU policies
  • To identify key synergies, trade-offs and conflicts between mitigation and adaptation, based on evidence from case-studies, in order to identify opportunities for future EU strategies and policy measures
  • To disseminate and communicate research results effectively to policy makers
  • Impacts

    The primary impact of the RESPONSES project on policy and science anticipated from the RESPONSES project are:
  • Strategic support for EU climate policymakers, in developing a greenhouse emissions reduction strategy to 2020 and beyond;
  • Policy support for responses integrating mitigation and adaptation;
  • Improved policy impact assessment; The project will provide specific output on:
  • A knowledge base of the potential for and limits to mainstreaming of climate change mitigation and adaptation in EU sectoral policies
  • A suite of low emissions scenarios that support EU policy development
  • A strong European contribution to IPCC, in particular the 5th Assessment Report, including low emissions scenarios.
  • An analysis of trade-offs, including costs and benefits of adaptation.
  • Some overall findings emerging during the first 18 months of the project are: It is clear that EU policies influence the climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity of European people, regions and sectors, even absent 'mainstreaming'. Also, there will be large differences between mainstreaming as it happens across different policy sectors - there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The politics of adaptation (also within the EU) is primarily about burden sharing of risks and transfers to address impacts and losses. Under current conditions, this poses a major political challenge. The experience with mainstreaming in other domains (overseas development, environmental policy) in EU policy has not always been positive and the lessons from these earlier exercises need to be learned. Finally, more adaptive policies are typically those that transfer powers to lower levels of governance, but this may conflict with the principle of solidarity which lies at the heart of much EU adaptation action. Important progress has been made on the following dissemination activities:
  • Sessions with policymakers in Brussels facilitated by EC DG Research
  • Communication with the Project Advisory Board
  • Meetings with related FP7 projects (MEDIATION, CLIMSAVE, and CLIMATECOST)
  • Work package expert and stakeholder sessions and workshops.
  • Participation in the Working Group on the Knowledge Base for EC Climate Action.
  • Scientific journal publications and reports -- see under Output.
  • Contributions to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the IPCC Special Report on Extremes (SREX) published in March 2012; and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) WG2 and WG3 volumes, to be published in 2014.
  • Organisation of the first European Climate Change Adaptation Conference to be held in March 2013 jointly with the German government, European Commission, EEA, city of Hamburg, and with other FP7 research projects (MEDIATION, CLIMSAVE, and CLIMATECOST).

  • Structure

    The RESPONSES project has three analytical elements:

    i) Scenario modelling;
    ii) Sector case studies; and
    iii) Integrative Activities.

    These elements are integrated through an initial Scoping activity (Work Package 2), which sets out a common research protocol for the five sector case studies, and a concluding Synthesis (Work Package 9) in which the results of the Scenarios and case study research are currently being brought together. Interaction and communication with European Commission and other stakeholders will be continuous throughout the project, in the initial framing of the research, in conducting research, and in debating and communicating results.

    In Work Package 3 (Scenarios), global low-emissions scenarios (400-450 ppm CO2-equivalent stabilisation) are generated as a specific output of the project. Alongside emissions scenarios, climate scenarios will underpin an analysis of the mitigation potentials and climate vulnerability of EU sectoral policies. A baseline assessment of non-climatic drivers of EU sectoral policies will also be conducted.

    The core of the project is formed by 5 sector case studies:
  • WP4: Water and Agriculture
  • WP5: Biodiversity
  • WP6: Regional development and infrastructure
  • WP7: Health
  • WP8: Energy

  • Each work package focuses on a domain of EU policy with special relevance for climate mitigation and adaptation. This includes sectors where mitigation is the prime concern (energy), as well as sectors where adaptation will be more important (health). Specific options and strategies for 'climate proofing' policies will be generated and assessed in each of the sector case studies. Integrative Activities are linking the case studies and explore cross-sectoral issues; for instance the link between water policy and regional development from mitigation and adaptation perspectives. The Synthesis will provide a validated EU Strategic Climate Assessment Approach (SCAA), and more generic strategies for integrating mitigation and adaptation to climate impacts into existing EU policies will be produced, together with an analysis of key synergies, trade-offs and conflicts between mitigation and adaptation, based on evidence from the sector case studies.


    RESPONSES Policy Brief
    Key Findings of the FP7 RESPONSES project
    Read more
    RESPONSES Policy Update 6
    Climate change impacts across Europe and the role of EU regional policy in adaptation.
    Read more
    European Climate Change Adaptation Conference - Integrating Climate into Action
    18 - 20 March 2013, Hamburg, Germany.
    Read more
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