Climate change impacts are already observable in the environment and they are experienced across sectors and geographies. Increases in temperature, changes in precipitation and storms, increase in extreme weather events, decreases in ice and snow cover and sea level rise occur locally and globally with each year revealing another record in observed changes.
The Paris agreement (UN, 2015) sets out a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and aims to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. The agreement also emphases the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possibleand to undertake rapid reductions thereafter. It's a daunting but not impossible task. However, due to inertia in the climate system, we also need to adapt today and prepare for more impacts regardless of national and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Adaptation to climate change necessitates changes in ecological, social and economic systems as a reaction to occurring and expected climate change. Adaptation occurs in processes, practices and structures to minimize damages or (temporary) benefits from effects of climate change. Adaptation is needed both across sectors and across levels of decision-making. Our research focus is on: