5.9. Adaptation of infrastructure to climate change: risk and opportunities for biodiversity

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Last update: October 2023
RATIONALE. Adaptation of infrastructure to climate change

The transport sector is one of the main contributors to climate change, emitting up to 15% of greenhouse gases in 2019 (IPCC, 2023). At the same time, transport infrastructure is increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change, which cause service disruptions and economic losses (Palin et al., 2019; Greenham et al., 2020; Thacker et al., 2021; Seiler et al., 2023).

In Europe, policies to tackle this threat are two-fold. On one hand, the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law, with the ‘Fit for 55 package’, aim for a reduction of 55% in greenhouse emissions by 2030 and to be climate neutral by 2050 (EC, 2019; 2021). On the other hand, the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, highlights the urgency of acting to increase the resilience of transport infrastructure against climate-related hazards, which are already occurring (EC, 2021a).

Transport operators, agencies and associations are developing climate change adaptation frameworks and plans to implement adaptation measures (PIARC 2023; 2023a). However, in many instances, the measures being considered are based on traditional grey solutions (Payne et al., 2018; Palin et al., 2021), rather than those aimed at achieving environmental, social and economic co-benefits, for example benefits that arise from the implementation of Nature-based Solutions (IUCN, 2016; Seiler et al., 2023). This section is focused on how measures implemented to adapt transport infrastructure to climate change could also benefit biodiversity.


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