Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia - World Bank Report June 2009

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Publication Title

Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia

Publication Type

World Bank Report

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Publication Date

June 1 2009

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Contents

Summary

The climate is changing and Europe and Central Asia (ECA) is already experiencing the consequences: increasing variability, warmer temperatures, changing hydrology, and more extremes—drought's, flood's, heat waves, windstorms, and forest fires.

With a legacy of environmental mismanagement and under-investment in infrastructure and housing, the region is already vulnerable to the current climate conditions because of its "adaptation deficit", which can only increase with projected climate changes. In the near term the region’s vulnerability is dominated by non-climatic factors, including socio-economic and environmental issues that are the legacy of the Soviet system. These will exacerbate climate risks and hamper the ability of sectors that could gain from climate change, such as agriculture, to reap full benefits.


Certainty about global warming and the dismal consequences of unmitigated emissions coexist with uncertainty about local impacts and the timing of particular weather events. Policy makers at national and local levels, individuals, and business owners may face substantial uncertainty as to what to adapt to. The focus therefore must not be on precise impact assessment, but on reducing vulnerability, starting with vulnerability to the current climate. Postponing action until more is known would be a mistake. It would also preclude taking advantage of the many opportunities to increase resilience while reaping copious co-benefits.

This report has four key messages:

Contrary to popular perception, ECA faces a substantial threat from climate change, with a number of the most serious risks already in evidence.
Average temperatures across ECA have already increased by 0.5ºC in the south to 1.6ºC in the north (Siberia), and overall increases of 1.6 to 2.6ºC are expected by the middle of the century regardless of what mitigation efforts are undertaken. This is affecting hydrology, with a rapid melting of the region’s glaciers and a decrease in winter snows. Many countries are already suffering from winter floods and summer droughts—with both Southeastern Europe and Central Asia at risk for severe water shortages. Summer heat waves are expected to claim more lives than will be saved by warmer winters.
Vulnerability over the next ten to twenty years will be dominated by socio-economic factors and legacy issues
notably the dire environmental situation and the poor state of infrastructure—rather than by the changing climate itself.
Even countries and sectors that stand to benefit from climate change are poorly positioned to do so.
Many have claimed that warmer climate and abundant precipitation in the northeastern part of ECA (Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine) will open up a new agricultural frontier. However, the region’s currently low agricultural performance, with efficiency and productivity levels far below those of western Europe, does not augur well for its capacity to seize new opportunities.
The next decade offers a window for ECA countries to make their development more resilient to climate change while reaping numerous co-benefits.
While some impacts of climate change are already being felt, they will likely remain manageable over the next decade, thereby offering the ECA region a short period of time to increase its resilience by focusing on actions that have numerous co-benefits.

Content

CHAPTER 1. A FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING ADAPTATION PLANS
  • Vulnerability as a function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity
  • A vulnerability index for ECA
  • An alternative measure
  • From vulnerability to action: facing the challenge of adaptation
  • Approaches to adaptation planning
  • Mainstreaming adaptation into development
  • Effective adaptation requires tackling several challenges
  • Making decisions under uncertainty
  • Getting the right data—and knowing how to use it
CHAPTER 2. HOW ECA’S CLIMATE HAS CHANGED AND IS LIKELY TO CHANGE FURTHER
  • ECA’s climate is already changing
  • More change is certain—the question is where and how
  • Climate projections: how is ECA likely to be affected
  • Warmer everywhere: fewer frost days, more heat waves
  • Wetter north and east, drier south
  • When it rains, it pours—everywhere
CHAPTER 3. HUMAN HEALTH- THE MOST BASIC VULNERABILITY
  • Warmer and more extreme weather brings new threats and exacerbates others
  • Floods
  • Heat waves
  • Droughts
  • Changing averages: malaria, allergies and algal blooms
  • The climate change–health outcome matrix
  • Vulnerability from climate‐driven migration: the health perspective
  • Assessing vulnerability and prioritizing protections
CHAPTER 4. CLIMATE CHANGE WILL MAKE WATER AND LAND MANAGEMENT MORE COMPLEX
  • More difficult water resource management—too much or too little of a good thing
  • What climate change means for water resource management
  • A varying regional picture but more flooding (almost) everywhere
  • Climate change will compound Central Asia’s already serious water shortages
  • More stress on already stressed coastal areas
  • Baltic Sea
  • Caspian Sea
  • Mediterranean Sea (East Adriatic and Mediterranean coast of Turkey
  • Black Sea
  • Declining arctic ice, tundra and permafrost
  • Threats to biodiversity are significant
  • Two key lines of intervention: conservation and minimizing non climate change‐related

stresses

  • Adaptations by biome
CHAPTER 5. THE UNBUILT ENVIRONMENT - AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
  • Climate impacts will exacerbate ECA’s persistent problem of rural poverty
  • Models predict that there will be winners and losers in ECA
  • Insights from observed climate changes and impacts
  • Impacts: the agronomic view
  • Impacts: the economic models
  • The state and sensitivities of ECA’s agriculture today
  • Climate change is complicated by environmental management weaknesses
  • Farm type and adaptive capacity
  • Potential climate change winners face their own challenges
  • Adaptation in the productive environment
CHAPTER 6. THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT - CITIES, TRANSPORT, WATER SYSTEMS, AND ENERGY
  • Urban challenges: making cities livable and viable in a warmer century
  • Water: basic to all human activity but facing multiple pressures
  • Energy: new pressure to overcome a legacy of inefficiency
  • Transport: taking on another increment of challenge
CHAPTER 7. PROTECTION AND PREPARATION - DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT AND WEATHER FORECASTING
  • Softening the blow when disaster strikes
  • Current capacity in ECA
  • Spreading the risk: budgeting, facilitating and accessing insurance protection
  • Mitigating the risks
  • Understanding when extreme weather is coming

Conclusion

References

See also

External Resources

More details on particular sectors or countries can be found in the numerous background papers that underpin the report (http://go.worldbank.org/7OOC1E7AU0).

Attachments

 WorldBank 2009 ECA CCA Full Report.pdf

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