CLIMSAVE – Climate Change Integrated Assessment Methodology for Cross-Sectoral Adaptation and Vulnerability in Europe

Background and Goals

There is widespread acceptance that the climate is changing due to human emissions of greenhouse gases. Such changes in climate will affect all sectors of society and the environment. Decision-makers and other interested citizens need to be able to access reliable science-based information to help them respond to the risks of climate change impacts and assess opportunities for adaptation.

CLIMSAVE is developing an integrated method for assessing climate change impacts on ecosystems and their vulnerability. To this end, adaptation measures are evaluated at a regional and European level and interactions between key sectors in Europe (agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, coastal protection, water management, urban development and transport) are assessed at a cross-sectoral level. Sectoral metamodels are interactively linked through a user-friendly assessment platform for this purpose, allowing stakeholders to recognize climate change influences and their consequences in their regions.

In addition, several workshops are run on a European and regional level. This is to make sure that the methods developed in the project can be applied at different levels. Furthermore, this also provides for continuous commitment and mutual learning.

There are six specific objectives:

  1. To analyse the policy and governance context for adaptation.
  2. To construct an "integrated assessment platform" for an interactive simulation of impacts and vulnerability including linkages and feedbacks between key sectors.
  3. To apply an innovative methodology for participatory scenario development for effectively integrating stakeholder input into climate change impact and adaptation assessment.
  4. To analyse the cost-effectiveness of adaptation strategies under uncertainty conditions.
  5. To identify vulnerability hotspots through the analysis of impacts and adaptive capacity across sectors.
  6. To describe uncertainties to describe robust policy options.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
  • Europe

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

A metamodel was developed for the fast reproduction of simulation results of the WaterGAP model on the effects of climate change on water resources. The climate scenarios are based on the findings of the 4th IPCC assessment report (2007); socio-economic scenarios will be developed.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
Further Parameters 

solar radiation

Further times 


Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

These include a significant rise in temperatures in southern Europe leading to more frequent drought periods, and increased precipitation in northern Europe leading to more flooding. At the end of the project, the results of the analysis of the climate change effects are shown in the "integrated assessment platform".

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

A vulnerability framework will be developed that permits a standardized and cross-sectoral approach as well as ensuring the comparability of the influences on the vulnerabilities of various regions. Important components of this concept are "pressures" (e.g. climate change) on the one hand, and the adaptive capacity, which is determined by the available natural, human, social and financial "capital", on the other hand The focus is on the changes in the availability and usability of ecosystem services. At the end of the project, the results of the vulnerability hotspots are shown in the "integrated assessment platform".

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

The integrated assessment methodology developed will use indicators to identify vulnerability 'hotspots', and, based on this, will show possibilities for developing adaptation strategies for reducing these vulnerabilities, with particular regard to their profitability and their cross-sectoral advantages and disadvantages. To this end, methods are applied that help reduce uncertainties and increase the transparency of model and scenario projections. From this, policy recommendations are derived. At the end of the project, the results of the analysis of the climate adaptation measures are shown in the "integrated assessment platform".

A series of workshops will determine the views and needs of the stakeholders. In the workshops, the influence of climate change on the hotspots will be assessed, and adaptation measures will be developed.

Time horizon
  • 2036–2065

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Costs of the measures 

To analyse the cost-effectiveness of adaptation strategies under uncertainty conditions.


Funding / Financing 

European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme

Project management 

University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute, Great Britain

  • TIAMASG Foundation, Romania;
  • Prospex bvba, Belgium;
  • ESSRG Kft, Hungary;
  • Cranfield University, Great Britain;
  • CREAF, Spain;
  • University of Kassel, Germany;
  • Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic;
  • University of the Aegean, Greece;
  • Rob Tinch, Belgium;
  • SERI GmbH, Austria;
  • University of Edinburgh, Great Britain;
  • Lund University, Sweden;
  • Wageningen University, Netherlands;
  • University of Southampton, Great Britain;
  • Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, China;
  • University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia;
  • Victoria University, Australia;

University of Oxford
Environmental Change Institute
South Parks Road
OX1 3QY Oxford

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity  coastal and marine protection  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  transport and transport infrastructure  water regime and water management  woodland and forestry