European Union decision making and climate change Adaptation: an evaluation of the integration of adaptation into key policy sectors

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S2


Duncan Russel (United Kingdom) 1; Roos Den Uyl (United Kingdom) 1; Anne Jensen (Denmark) 2; Helle ørsted Nielsen (Denmark) 2; Sabine Weiland (France) 3

1 - University of Exeter; 2 - University of Aarhus; 3 - Lille Catholic University

This paper evaluates the integration of climate adaptation into the sectoral policy making of the European Commission, particularly following the publication of the European Union Adaptation Strategy. In doing so, it asks the following research questions: To what extent has climate change become integrated into key EU policy sectors since the publication of the EU Adaptation Strategy, and what are the key factors that have facilitated or hindered the consideration of climate impacts in on-going decisions in key sectors: coasts and marine, agriculture and biodiversity, health and water.

Drawing on data from several expert interviews and extensive documentary analysis, the paper finds that the integration of adaptation into sectoral policy-making is largely dependent on institutional dynamics at the EU-level combined with how member states and wider sectoral stakeholders engage with adaptation concerns. In particular, too many policy objectives at the EU-level of policy-making combined with member states’ ambivalence, has tended to hamper the integration of adaptation goals. In sectors which have had more recent and regular exposure to climate impacts such as agriculture these factors appear to have had less impact on integration as stakeholders may be more aware of some sectoral vulnerabilities.