Climate change aims need to be better integrated

March 26, 2009,
This is the cover of the new PEER report Credit: PEER

Specific measures to tackle climate change, such as emissions trading, will only be successful if they are coherently supported by other government policies addressing economic and social issues, says a report published today by the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER). PEER membership is formed from seven of the biggest European environmental research institutes.

The report explains that, in order to create an effective, Europe wide , issues must be better integrated into both general and sector-specific policies such as taxation, transportation, and land use planning. By doing this the necessary changes in production processes and consumption patterns to tackle climate change will be achieved.

Lead author, Dr. Per Mickwitz, from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), said, "Although the inclusion of and adaptation in general governmental programmes and strategies has substantially increased in recent years, much more is needed in terms of integrating into specific policy measures. Annual budgets, environmental impact assessments and spatial planning procedures are three examples of existing measures which we believe have significant potential to be climate policy instruments."

The new report assesses the degree of climate in six different European countries, at national and local levels, as well as within key policy sectors such as energy and transport. It analyses measures and means to enhance climate policy integration and improve policy coherence.

The report shows that when climate policy is integrated into an increasing number of policy sectors such as energy, transport and land use, many latent conflicts are reopened. These include conflicts over nuclear power, taxation, , mobility and other issues involving values and ideology. If such conflicts are not recognised early they provide a barrier to effective climate policy integration.

Professor Pat Nuttall, Director, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK, said, "As PEER chair, I know how important it is to work together within Europe to ensure that future decisions will be based on the best information available, minimizing risks and, in some cases, turning threats into opportunities. There is a huge need for increased policy and programme evaluation from a climate change perspective, and this report is a first step towards achieving this goal."

Over recent decades, climate change research has focused primarily on the climate system impacts in general terms, and on mitigation. In the future, new challenges will be posed by the emergence of climate change adaptation policies across Europe. Climate policy integration and coherence will be essential in order to bring together the environmental, economic and social impacts of both adaptation and mitigation policies.

A second report from PEER, comparing National Adaptation Strategies to climate change across Europe, will be published in May 2009.

More information:

Per Mickwitz, Francisco Aix, Silke Beck, David Carss, Nils Ferrand, Christoph Görg, Anne Jensen, Paula Kivimaa, Christian Kuhlicke, Wiebren Kuindersma, María Máñez, Matti Melanen, Suvi Monni, Anders Branth Pedersen, Hugo Reinert and Séverine van Bommel 2009. Climate Policy Integration, Coherence and Governance. PEER-Report No 2. Helsinki: Partnership for European Environmental Research. 92pp.

The report will is available from the PEER website:

German case study: Dr. Silke Beck, Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research (UFZ), phone + 49-341-235-1733,

Source: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

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5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2009
Integration is the last thing we need. It smacks too much of control. All we need is local adaptation to any local shift in weather paterns. It would also be more efficient.
not rated yet Mar 27, 2009
It's a European report. Let the EU lead the way... Of course we'll have to ignore their current failing approach...
not rated yet Mar 30, 2009
It's a European report. Let the EU lead the way... Of course we'll have to ignore their current failing approach...

Unfortunately, I live in England and an stuck with the Evil Union. Some of the press is letting a bit of truth show through,but the BBC still has It's head up It's arse to recycle the same bullshit.
not rated yet Mar 30, 2009
The problem with local adaptation is that the nuisance is being created somewhere else. Supposing your neighbor started releasing large quantities of Hydrogen Sulfide gas that wound up settling on top of your house. Could your neighbor say: that's your problem, deal with it locally and leave me alone? I agree that central control is too complex and that local strategies for mitigation would be more efficient. First start with a global emissions target, then 1) convert that target into a national per capita amount based on population size on the date of agreement and modified thereafter only to reflect non-natural (immigration or emigration)population changes AND 2)create a 100 year straight line schedule to reach that amount, and FINALLY let the nations decide how to arrive at their annual targets (or if preferred, a nation may pay a risk premium, for doing nothing or too little, into a fund that finances adaptation programs around the world).

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