Lisbon Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Lisbon City Hall from Adobe Stock

Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

23 April, 2019

In early 2015, the Lisbon City Council (CML) signed a Cooperation Protocol with the ClimAdaPT.Local Project Consortium for the implementation of Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (Estratégia Municipal de Adaptação às Alterações Climáticas, EMAAC) in 26 cities, to jointly, with the support of academia, build a local strategy for adapting to climate change.

The Lisbon Climate Change Adaptation Strategy constitutes a document for meeting this major challenge of the 21st century, with consequences at every level, and for which the city’s planning and management will have to provide specific answers.

In this document the vulnerabilities of the city facing the different adverse weather events were identified and, based on climate projections for Lisbon by the end of the century, future vulnerabilities were identified and projected the risks associated with the different events and vulnerabilities of the territory.

The climate projections for Lisbon show the following aspects:

  • Severe precipitation and strong wind are currently the most onerous events. In the medium and long term, the level of risk for precipitation and wind will remain, because although the frequency of these events decreases, an increase in magnitude is expected due to the greater intensity of extreme events such as rainfall, wind and thunderstorm;
  • As for high temperatures, although they are not at present high risk today, their risk is expected to rise gradually to a peak by the end of the century, particularly highs during the autumn, as well as an increase in how often heat waves occur;
  • Low temperatures are not of significant gravity today and throughout the 21st century.

These changes could bring about a set of impacts on the city’s territory, not only in terms of ecological functioning, but also regarding daily human activities as well as erected structures and infrastructures, as dimensions comprising the municipal area.

First and foremost, this situation calls for an adaptation response based on planning and integrated management. Add to that the high degree of unpredictability associated with the topic requiring the municipality to be prepared in view of the climate risks that could occur, affecting the territory in multiple aspects: environmental, social, economic, political and technological. Therefore, it becomes vital to analyze, develop, implement, monitor and assess a coherent and flexible set of adaptation options, to enable the municipality to deal with possible impacts from climate change, as well as to take advantage of potential opportunities.

The EMAAC constitutes a dynamic instrument, open to updates, based on the development of scientific knowledge and practices for adapting to climate change. The idea is to contribute decisively toward continually developing coherent territorial policies based on the needs of the various population groups and economic sectors, while enabling an actual enhancement the climate resilience of the municipality and of those living, working or visiting there.

Due to the great heterogeneity of adaptation options that were being identified during this project, we chose to distinguish three axes of programmatic action: Axis A, preferably geared to territorial planning, Axis B, for operational management and Axis C, for the empowerment of the population / actors and governance.

The operation of the EMAAC is foreseen in the SECAP (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan), as a result of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, including goals and objectives that can be monitored every two years.