IHCantabria advises the Spanish National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, approved this week.
Monday, 21 August 2017 08:53

IHCantabria advises the Spanish National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, approved this week.

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Spain has become this week one of the first countries in the world to approve a national strategy to adapt its 7,883 kilometers of coastline to the effects of climate change, in which it concludes that there is no room for more infrastructures, constructions and urban development in the coast


The Official State Bulletin (BOE) have published this week the approval of this tool, mandate of the Coastal Law of 2013, which has counted on the scientific advice of the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics of the University of Cantabria (IHCantabria), worldwide pioneers in the field, with the realization of two reports "Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change of the Spanish Coast" and the "Strategic Environmental Study for the Environmental Assessment of the Strategy to Adapt to Climate Change on the Spanish Coast"


The strategy diagnoses the current situation of the coast and concludes that "the model of economic development implemented in the last decades and the exploitation of resources has posed a threat to the coast, increasing its exposure and vulnerability to climate change due to urban pressure and the degradation suffered. "


"The excessive urbanization of the last decades, the construction of infrastructures on the coast and the reduction of the solid flow of the rivers has modified the coastline, destroying dunes, drying up marshes and coastal lagoons, increasing erosion and altering the coast through dikes and piers "the text says.


Based on this situation and the forecasts of the impacts of the warming, the strategy "sets general guidelines on how to address these effects on the coast with an integrative vision, encompassing not only the coastal public domain, government competence , but areas of autonomic management ", according to the Research Director of IHCantabria, and author of the reports, Iñigo Losada.


"The strategy values ​​risks beyond state competencies and lays the groundwork for action"

Within the framework of these risks, the document determines that sea level rise and temperature rise - with the latter's serious implications for ecosystems - will be the main impacts on the coast, followed by storms and storms (more Wind and waves), and the deficit of fresh water contributions.

The Asturian coast as a laboratory

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The Spanish Office of Climate Change of the Government (OECC) has not only relied on scientific predictions to assess risks to the coast, but has taken the 500 kilometers of Asturias coast as a living laboratory to assess impacts and responses through a pilot project carried out together with the Principality in recent years

Given this situation, the strategy breaks down a whole range of options for adapting to risks, giving priority to planning and monitoring, and so-called "green infrastructures" versus gray ones.


Instead of new engineering works to protect the coast, the strategy is to protect the natural ecosystems that exert such functions, preserving rivers, deltas, dunes, estuaries, wetlands or marshes, and restoring those that have stopped lending their Services by human degradation or destruction.


He concludes that "the benefits of protecting against increased coastal flooding and loss of land due to progressive flooding and erosion outweigh the social and economic costs of adaptation."


Without adaptation measures the approximately 15 million Spaniards living in 487 coastal municipalities in 24 provinces and 10 Autonomous Communities will be affected by coastal flooding or displacement due to loss of territory at the end of the century.

For this reason, Iñigo Losada considers that this strategy is an "important milestone" for an "integrated management of the adaptation in the coast, a tool that does not yet have so detailed no other country in the world".


It will be the basis for the Autonomous Communities to implement adaptation plans in the stretches of coast that have concessionaries, and for those who in some cases are already receiving funds from the Government for this purpose.

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