Action 1

Duration: 01/09/2011 – 29/02/2012

Status – Completed

Action 1 consists of two (2) individual activities:

  • Activity 1(a): Review of the observed changes and responses to climate change worldwide and especially in Cyprus. Current impact and vulnerability assessment for the case of Cyprus.
  • Activity 1(b): Examination and analysis of European and international policies and legislative framework with respect to climate change.

Activity 1(a) foresees the elaboration of two reports. In the first report (Deliverable 1.1, updated version March 2013) an overview of the observed changes and responses to climate change worldwide and in Cyprus is being made. In specific, the observed changes worldwide presented in the report include the increase in the mean surface temperature as well as the increase in the rate of temperature increase, the rise of ocean temperature and heat content, the decrease of snow cover, the decrease of sea ice and the reduction of glaciers’ mass. As a result of ice melting and of the thermal expansion of the oceans due to the increase of their temperature, the sea-level has also risen. The changes in precipitation refer not only to the quantity and intensity, but also to the frequency and the type of precipitation (rain, snow, hail, etc.) with intense precipitation presenting an increase. Finally, heatwave events, hot nights, droughts as well as tropical storms and hurricanes have also presented an increase.

 

For Cyprus, the observed climate changes refer to the increase in annual mean maximum and minimum air temperature, the increase in the number of days with temperature higher or equal to 40oC, the decrease in the number of days with temperatures less than or equal to 0oC as well as the increase in the number of warm nights. As a result of the air temperature rise, the evapotranspiration has increased. Furthermore, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) at the Levantine basin where Cyprus is located have also been rising. With regard to precipitation, the amount of rain which falls in the region has been declining year by year, while heavy rainfall has increased.

In the second report foreseen in Activity 1(a) (Deliverable 1.2), an Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation (IVA) assessment is taking place for the case of Cyprus. The policy areas that have been taken into consideration in the IVA assessment are presented in the following figure.

One sub-report has been elaborated for each of the sectors presented in the figure above (11 sub-reports in total), based on a common methodology structured upon 3 basic steps:

Step 1: Recording of the baseline situation (current resources, measures and plans for their management, importance of each sector for the country, pressures). This step is very important, as the data gathered were necessary for the assessment of vulnerability, carried out in step 3 of the process.

Step 2: Impact assessment. In this step, a literature review has been made on the observed and expected impacts of climate changes worldwide and especially to the wider area where Cyprus is located. The impacts for the case of Cyprus were identified and relevant data were presented where available. Following, the trends of the observed impacts and the likelihood of the expected impacts were evaluated.

Step 3: Vulnerability assessment. In this step, the vulnerability of each of the identified impacts was assessed in terms of sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity of the sector to climate changes, based on the available quantitative and qualitative data for Cyprus. In particular, sensitivity is defined as the degree to which a system is affected by climate changes, exposure is the degree to which a system is exposed to climate changes and their impacts while the adaptive capacity is defined by the ability of a system to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Adaptive capacity is also enhanced by the measures implemented in Cyprus in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on the sector.

For the vulnerability assessment various criteria were used, such as the magnitude, timing, distribution, persistence and reversibility of impacts as well as other social criteria. The assessment of overall vulnerability was based on the following qualitative equation:

The general concept of the methodology followed was adopted by the IPCC, while the assessment was further elaborated by the CYPADAPT team in order to prioritize the impacts from all sectors and identify the key vulnerabilities for Cyprus. For this to be achieved, sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity were evaluated with the use of a qualitative 7-degree scale ranging from “none” to “very high”. The key vulnerabilities have been identified as those impacts gathering an overall vulnerability score ranging from “moderate” to “very high”.

Overall 52 impacts have been identified in the selected policy areas of Cyprus, from which 16 have been evaluated as key priorities for adaptation action.

 

The report foreseen under Activity 1(b) (Deliverable 1.3, updated version March 2013) contains information on the climate change regime regarding mitigation and especially adaptation policies, at international and European level. In specific, the report includes information about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the major decisions taken at the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC and most importantly the Kyoto Protocol where the first emission reduction targets and the mechanisms for their achievement were set. Several milestones of the COPs analyzed in the report are the Bali Road Map, the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the Nairobi Work Program and the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

At the European level, the initiatives undertaken by the European Climate Change Program (ECCP) on mitigation as well as the most important European tool on achieving the emission reduction targets set for the EU under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Climate and Energy package, are presented. On adaptation, several sectoral and multi-sectoral policies directly or indirectly addressing climate change adaptation were identified and analyzed, such as the Green Paper and White Paper on adaptation to climate change as well as the Commission staff working documents accompanying the White Paper addressing water, coasts and  marine issues, and human, animal and plant health impacts. Sectoral policies on adaptation were identified and analyzed for water resources (Water Framework Directive, common implementation strategy for river basin management in a changing climate, Drought Management Plan and Floods Directive), marine and coastal areas (Integrated Maritime Policy, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Integrated Coastal Zone Management), biodiversity (Biodiversity Action Plan), agriculture (Common Agriculture Policy), fisheries (Common Fisheries Policy), forests (EU forest action plan and Green Paper on forest protection and climate change), soil resources (EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection), health (European Environment and Health Action Plan) and energy (EU policy on renewable energy).