Impacts and adaptive capacity as drivers for prioritising agricultural adaptation to climate change in Europe

Jeremy Schlickenrieder, Sonia Quiroga, Agustín Diz, Ana Iglesias


In the face of likely climate change impacts policy makers at different spatial scales need access to assessment tools that enable informed policy instruments to be designed. Recent scientific advances have facilitated the development of improved climate projections, but it remains to be seen whether these are translated into effective adaptation strategies. This paper uses existing databases on climate impacts on European agriculture and combines them with an assessment of adaptive capacity to develop an interdisciplinary approach for prioritising policies. It proposes a method for identifying relevant policies for different EU countries that are representative of various agroclimatic zones. Our analysis presents a framework for integrating current knowledge of future climate impacts with an understanding of the underlying socio-economic, agricultural and environmental traits that determine a region’s capacity for adapting to climate change.


Adaptation; Adaptive capacity; Agriculture; Climate change

Subject classification

Q18, Q54.

Full Text:



Anderson, C.W. (1977). Statecraft: An introduction to political choice and judgment. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Arnell, N.W. (2004). “Climate change and global water resources: SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios”. Global Environmental Change, 14(1): 31-52.

Christensen, J.H. and Christensen, O.B. (2007). “A summary of the PRUDENCE model projections of changes in European climate by the end of this century”. Cli-matic Change, 81(1): 7-3.

Ciscar, J.C., Iglesias, A., Feyen, L., Goodess, C.M., Szabó, L., Christensen, O.B., Nicholls, R., Amelung, B., Watkiss, P., Bosello, F., Dankers, R., Garrote, L., Hunt, A., Horrocks, L., Moneo, M., Moreno, A., Pye, S., Quiroga, S., van Regemorter, D., Richards, J., Roson, R., Soria, A. (2009). Climate change impacts in Europe. Final report of the PESETA research project. Europea Commission Joint Research Centre - Institute for Prospective Technological Studies; EUR 24093 EN.

Ciscar, J., Iglesias, A., Feyen, L., Szabó, L., Van Regemorter, D., Amelung, B., Nich-olls, R., Watkiss, P., Christensen, O.B., Dankers, R., Garrote, L., Goodess, C.M., Hunt, A., Moreno, A., Richards, J. and Soria, A. (2011). Physical and economic consequences of climate change in Europe, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi:10.1073/pnas.1011612108.

Connor, R. and Dovers, S. (2004). Institutional change for sustainable development. Edward Elgar.

Dovers, S. (2005). Environment and sustainability policy: creation, implementation, evaluation. Federation Press.

European Commission (2010). “The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future”. COM(2010), 672.

European Commission (2008). “Agricultural Statistics; main results 2006-2007”. EUROSTAT.

Fronzek, S. and Carter, T. (2007). “Assessing uncertainties in climate change impacts on resource potential for Europe based on projections from RCMs and GCMs”. Climatic Change, 81(1): 357-371.

Giorgi, F. (2006). “Climate change hot-spots”. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L08707.

Gupta, J., Termeer, C., Klostermann, J., Meijerink, S., Van Den Brink, M., Jong, P., Nooteboom, S. and Bergsma, E. (2010). “The Adaptive Capacity Wheel: a method to assess the inherent characteristics of institutions to enable the adaptive capacity of society”. Environmental Science & Policy, 13(6): 459-471

Hering, D., Borja, A., Carstensen, J., Carvalho, L., Elliott, M., Feld, C.K., Heiskanen, A., Johnson, R.K., Moe, J., Pont, D., Solheim, A.L. and De Bund, W.V. (2010). “The European Water Framework Directive at the age of 10: A criti-cal review of the achievements with recommendations for the future”. Science of the total Environment, 408(19): 4007-4019.

Hertel, T.W. (1997). Global Trade Analysis: Modelling and Applications. University Press, Cambridge.

Iglesias, A., Garote, L., Flores, F. and Moneo, M. (2007a). “Challenges to manage the risk of water scarcity and climate change in the Mediterranean”. Water Re-sources Management, 21(5): 227-288.

Iglesias, A., Avis, K., Benzi, M., Fisher, P., Harley, M., Hodgson, N., Horrocks, L., Moneo, M. and Webb, J. (2007b). “Adaptation to climate change in the agricul-tural sector”. ED05334, Issue 1. Available online at

Iglesias, A., Mougou, R. and Moneo, M. (2007c). “Adaptation of Mediterranean agriculture to climate change”. In Battaglini, A. (Ed.): Key vulnerable regions and climate change. European Climate Forum, Germany.

Iglesias, A., Cancelliere, A., Cubillo, F., Garrote, L. and Wilhite, D.A. (2009). Cop-ing with drought risk in agriculture and water supply systems:Drought manage-ment and policy development in the Mediterranean. Springer, The Netherlands.

Iglesias, A., Mougou, R., Moneo, M. and Quiroga, S. (2010a). “Towards adaptation of agriculture to climate change in the Mediterranean”. Reg Environ Change DOI 10.1007/s10113-010-0187-4.

Iglesias, A., Quiroga, S. and Schlickenrieder, J. (2010b). “Climate change and ag-ricultural adaptation: assessing management uncertainty for four crop types in Spain”. Climate Research, 44(1): 83-94.

Ionescu, C., Klein, R.J.T., Hinkel, J., Kumar, K.S.K., Klein, R. (2009). “Towards a formal framework of vulnerability to climate change”. Environmental Modeling and Assessment Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 14(1): 1-16.

IPCC (2007). Climate Change 2007. Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovern-mental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Kallis, G., Kiparsky, M. and Norgaard, R. (2009). “Collaborative governance and adaptive management: Lessons from California’s CALFED Water Program”. En-vironmental Science & Policy, 12(6): 631-643.

Lobell, D.B. and Burke, M.B. (2010). “On the use of statistical models to predict crop yield responses to climate change”. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2010.07.008.

Lim, B., Spanger-Siegfried, E., Burton, I., Malone, E. and Huq, S. (2004). Adapta-tion Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Moss, R.H., Edmonds, J.A., Hibbard, K.A., Manning, M.R., Rose, S.K., van Vuuren, D.P., et al. (2010). “The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment”. Nature, 463(7282): 747-756.

Nakićenović,N.,Alcamo,J.,Davis,G.,deVries,B.,Fenhann,J.,Gaffin,S.,Greg-ory, K., Grübler, A., Jung, T. Y., Kram, T., et al. (2000). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Special Report on Emissions Scenarios.

Niang-Diop, I. and Bosch, H. (2004). “Formulating an adaptation strategy. In Lim, B. and Spanger-Siegfried, E. (Eds.): Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing Strategies, Policies and Measures. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Olesen, J.E. and Bindi, M. (2002). “Consequences of climate change for European agricultural productivity, land use and policy”. European Journal of Agronomy,16(4): 239-262.

Parry, M. (2002). “Scenarios for climate impact and adaptation assessment”. GlobalEnvironmental Change, 12(3): 149-153.

Parry, M., Arnell, N., McMichael, T., Nicholls, R., Martens, P., Kovats, S., Liver-more, M., Rosenzweig, C., Iglesias, A. and Fischer, G. (2001) “Millions at risk: defining critical climate change threats and targets”. Global Environmental Change, 11(3): 181-183.

Putnam, R. (1995). Bowling alone: Americas declining social capital. Journal of De-mocracy, 6 (January): 65-78.

Quiroga, S. and Iglesias, A. (2009).“A comparison of the climate risks of cereal, citrus, grapevine and olive production in Spain”. Agricultural Systems, 101 (1-2): 91-100.

Reidsma, P., Ewert, F. and Oude Lansink, A. (2007). “Analysis of farm performance in Europe under different climatic and management conditions to improve under-standing of adaptive capacity”. Climate Change, 84(3-4): 403-422.

Reilly, M. and Willenbockel, D. (2010). “Managing uncertainty: a review of food system scenario analysis and modelling”. Philosophical Transactions The Royal Society B, 365: 3049-3063.

Roeckner, E., Bäuml, G., Bonaventura, L., Brokopf, R., Esch, M., Giorgetta, M., Hagemann, S., Kirchner, I., Kornblueh, L., Manzini, E., Rhodin, A., Schlese, U., Schulzweida, U. and Tompkins, A. (2003). The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM5. Part 1. Model description. Report no. 349. Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie (MPI-M).

Smit, B. and Skinner, M. (2002). “Adaptation options in agriculture to climate change: a typology”, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change,7(2002): 85-114.

Smit, B. and Pilifosova, O. (2003). “From adaptation to adaptive capacity and vulner-ability reduction”. In Smith, J.B.; Klein, R.J.T. and Huq, S. (Eds.): Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Development. Imperial College Press, London: 9-28

Smit, B. and Wandel, J. (2005). “Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability”. Global Environmental Change, 16(3): 282-292.

Swart, R.J., Biesbroek, G.R., Binnerup, S., Carter, T.R., Cowan, C., Henrichs, T., Lo-quen, S., Mela, H., Morecroft, M.D., Reese, M. and Rey, D. (2009). “Europe Adapts to Climate Change: Comparing National Adaptation Strategies. (no. 01/2009)”. Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER), Helsinki: 160.

Tompkins, E.L. and Adger, W.N. (2004). “Does adaptive management of natural resources enhance resilience to climate change?”. Ecology and Society, 9(2): 10.

Undén, P., Rontu, L., Järvinen, H., Lynch, P., Calvo, J., Cats, G., Cuxart, J., Eerola, K., Fortelius, C., Garcia-Moya, J.A., Jones, C., Lenderlink, G., McDonald, A., McGrath, R., Navascues, B., Woetman Nielsen, N., Ødegaard, V., Rodrigues, E., Rummukainen, M., Rõõm, R., Sattler, K., Hansen Sass, B., Savijärvi, H., Wichers Schreur, B., Sigg, R., The, H. and Tijm, A. (2002). HIRLAM-5 Scientific Docu-mentation. Scientific Report. Available online from .

Vorosmarty, C.J., McIntyre, P.B., Gessner, M.O., Dudgeon, D., Prusevich, A., Green, P., Glidden, S., Bunn, S.E., Sullivan, C.A., Liermann, C.R. and Davies, P.M. (2010). “Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity”, Na-ture, 467(7315): 555-561.

Whitehead, M. (2007). “A typology of actions to tackle social inequalities in health”. Epidemiol Community Health, 2007, 61: 473-478.

Yohe, G., Malone, E., Brenkert, A., Schlesinger, M., Meij, H. and Xing X. (2006). “Global Distributions of Vulnerability to Climate Change”. Integrated Assessment Journal, 6(3): 35-44.

Yohe, G. and Tol, R.S.J. (2002). “Indicators for social and economic coping capac-ity-moving toward a working definition of adaptive capacity”. Global Environ-mental Change, 12(1): 25-40.

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

 Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 2174-7350   ISSN: 1578-0732