CASCADES Policy Brief 2020

Cascading climate impacts: a new factor in European policy-making

Publication date:
Mikael Hildén, Glada Lahn, Timothy R. Carter ( et al.)

CASCADES Policy Brief (2020)

Knowledge of how climate impacts occurring outside Europe might affect the continent is poor, and even less is known about what measures national governments and the European Union (EU) should take to address them. The scientific studies synthesized in the three recent special reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 show that some of the harshest direct effects of climate change are likely to be felt in countries with limited capacity to plan for and cope with them. Many of these effects could reach European countries and potentially ‘cascade’, given Europe’s strong links to the rest of the world via trade, value chains, business operations and financial investments, as well as security, development and diplomatic interests. As the EU revisits and updates its climate adaptation strategy and deals with fast-changing external relations, it is essential that policy-makers consider the risks of cross-border and cascading impacts and the Union’s range of influence for mitigating and preparing for them. In this short policy brief, the newly launched CASCADES project sets out the challenge.