Briefings

Climate risk and the EU budget: investing in resilience

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Economic losses from climate change-related disasters have doubled in the past 30 years, affecting every sector of the economy, from agriculture to infrastructure.

The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) plays an important role in helping Europe prepare for and respond to climate risk: it funds disaster response and can support investment in resilience.

The current 2014-2020 MFF puts greater emphasis on climate risk management than previously. However, the scale of the challenge is increasing, and critical gaps in the EU’s approach to climate risk undermine the effectiveness of EU spending. The post-2020 EU budget is an important opportunity to strengthen the EU’s ability to prepare for and cope with climate impacts:

  • Climate risk assessment is currently patchy and unsystematic. Projects funded by the EU budget need to be assessed for resilience to climate change, and for their contribution to reducing climate vulnerability.
  • The protection gap, which sees increasing inequality between different social groups and geographical regions due to vulnerability to climate impacts, needs to be narrowed or closed. This means working with the insurance industry to lower inequality and exposure amongst at-risk groups.
  • Disaster-response instruments need to be adequately funded. However, this must be matched by better planning for managing climate risk. EU funding should be linked to the development of climate adaptation strategies and action plans at Member State level.
  • Data collection, monitoring and evaluation needs to be strengthened considerably. Reliable information on investment needs, planned investments and actual expenditure in resilience is a particular gap. The European Environment Agency should be empowered and properly funded to conduct a comprehensive monitoring of internal and external climate vulnerabilities in the EU”.

The following table highlights what is at stake by continuing to sideline climate risk management. The table breaks down economic losses in Euros, as well as the number of fatalities resulting from climate risk.

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