Climate change adaptation from a water-land-energy-food-climate nexus perspective

Climate change adaptation from a water-land-energy-food-climate nexus perspective

The first policy brief of the EU funded SIM4NEXUS project on ‘Coherence in EU policy on water, land, energy, food and climate’ is now launched to shed light on synergies and trade-offs between policy objectives in the water-land-energy-food-climate (WLEFC) nexus. It also discusses the implications for the EU strategy on climate change adaptation as well as national adaption efforts.

Being comprised of water, land, energy, food and climate, the ‘WLEFC nexus’ constitutes a complex system influenced by numerous policies, including those that address sectors outside the nexus. The good news, though, is that European policy objectives along the WLEFC nexus are largely coherent.

The policy brief indicates that adaptation to climate change is indivisible from the achievement of numerous EU policy objectives in the nexus. For example, adaptation is inextricably linked to energy security, by ensuring sufficient water for cooling and hydropower generation, and protection of infrastructure against flooding. Similarly, indivisible mutual interrelations exist between adaptation and water policy aims on flood risk and water scarcity management. Furthermore, adaptation reinforces the achievement of objectives in the agricultural sector on farms’ competitiveness and income, as well as maintenance of forest cover as part of land-use management, which in turn supports climate adaptation.

However, climate change adaptation measures may also have a rebound effect. For instance, when implementing measures against droughts, more water becomes available during dry periods which could be used for irrigation or hydropower generation. But increased water availability could also discourage water efficiency improvements and lead to mismanagement of water resources. It may also increase energy use in water exploitation and management. Understanding such consequences is important for the effectiveness of policies and improving the synergies between them.

To read the full policy brief, please click here.

To learn more about SIM4NEXUS project, please visit its website.

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