European cities are turning to nature-based solutions amid climate crisis

Approximately 51% of European cities currently have dedicated climate adaptation plans.

This is according to a recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), which has analysed approximately 19,000 local climate action plans.

The report highlights that approximately 51% of European cities currently have dedicated climate adaptation plans, marking a 26% increase since 2018.

This figure includes adaptation needs in the water (17%), buildings (13.6%), environment (11.7%), land (10.8%), agriculture (9.3%) and health (7.6%) sectors.

Out of local climate action plans analysed, approximately 91% include the use of nature-based solutions.

However, the report notes that while nature-based solutions are important for addressing climate impacts in European cities, they are required to be combined with other adaptation actions, such as physical infrastructure including levees and sea walls, to meet the magnitude of expected future climate impacts.

The report also highlights technological measures, such as risk mapping and early warning systems, to be effective strategies with growing potential for the future.

Additionally, for the efficient implementation of these adaptation plans, the report notes that climate adaptation must be embraced comprehensively across all sectors and governance levels.

Last month, the EEA warned that policymakers broadly fail to grasp the urgency of the need to build in adaptive measures and, as such, most European nations have not made this a green policy priority.

The EEA is recommending mainstreaming adaptation needs, particularly in the most affected sectors, as well as engaging citizen groups and the private sector to facilitate broader investment in adaptation and the upkeep of adaptation projects.

The report emphasises that an effective adaptation strategy will encompass primary advantages like decreased flood risk, along with secondary benefits such as enhanced biodiversity or nature restoration resulting from the flood risk reduction measures.

However, the EU faces challenges over the politicisation of nature restoration. Its landmark nation restoration package was voted through in February but continues to face fierce opposition from right-wing lawmakers who see risks to productivity in sectors like forestry, agriculture and aquaculture in the near-term.

Nature conservation to halt biodiversity loss

In related news, a new study has found that nature conservation actions, including the establishment and management of protected areas, improved the state of biodiversity or slowed its decline, compared with no action taken at all.

This is according to Re:Wild’s first-ever meta-analysis of 186 studies, including 665 trials, exploring the impact of a wide range of conservation interventions globally, and over time, compared to what would have happened without those interventions.

For example, research revealed that protected areas and indigenous lands considerably decreased both deforestation rates and fire density in the Brazilian Amazon. Deforestation rates were 1.7 to 20 times higher, and human-caused fires were four to nine times more frequent outside the reserve boundaries compared to within.

More than $121bn is invested annually into conservation worldwide, and previous studies have found the cost-benefit ratio of an effective global programme for the conservation of the wild is at least 1:100.

Conservation scientist and study co-author Jake Bicknell said: “Our study shows that when conservation actions work, they really work.

“In other words, they often lead to outcomes for biodiversity that are not just a little bit better than doing nothing at all, but many times greater.”

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    Are there too many people in the world???
    If so, what to do???
    I am sorry not to have any suggestions, even after 92 years of worldly experience!!!

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