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Catalonia to take part in a 20-million-euro European project to apply climate change adaptation measures in the Pyrenees

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Catalonia to take part in a 20-million-euro European project to apply climate change adaptation measures in the Pyrenees

  1. The PYRENEES4CLIMA project, on adaptation to climate change in the Pyrenees, has been approved by the European LIFE programme and will be led by the Working Community of the Pyrenees
  2. The 47 partner organisations that make up the project will have seven and a half years to develop climate change adaptation actions designed for the mountain region with a cross-border focus

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The Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP), through the Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory (OPCC), is leading the new PYRENEES4CLIMA project, “Towards a climate-resilient cross-border mountain community in the Pyrenees”, which involves 47 partner organisations from the Pyrenean area (Euskadi, Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, Andorra, Occitania and New Aquitaine) united in the objective of increasing the resilience of the Pyrenees through the implementation of climate change adaptation measures. The PYRENEES4CLIMA project has recently been approved by the European LIFE programme. It will start in October 2023 and run until December 2030.

The project budget is 19,829,877.72 euros, of which 11,897,926.60 euros (60% of the overall budget) is subsidised by the European Union and the rest is provided by the project partners.

Implementing the Pyrenean Climate Change Strategy

The main objective of the project is the implementation of the Pyrenean Climate Change Strategy (EPiCC), the first European climate change strategy specifically designed for a mountain and cross-border bioregion, which was approved in December 2021 under the Catalan presidency of the CTP. The PYRENEES4CLIMA project provides a medium-term vision necessary to address climate change issues, becoming a real accelerator of climate action policies in the Pyrenees, giving continuity to the key points identified in the EPiCC strategy itself.

The implementation of the project is organised in 10 working groups which are led by some of the project partners forming north-south tandems: the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (SMC) and MétéoFrance, the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC and Conservatoire Botanique des Pyrénées, CREAF and the Agence des Pyrénées, NASUVINSA and the EGTC Pireneos-Pyrénées, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Réseau Pyrénées Vivantes, the Catalan Office for Climate Change (OCCC) and the Occitania Region Office, and the OPCC-CTP itself.

Catalonia’s involvement in the project is the most significant of all the territorial areas of the Pyrenees, both in terms of the entities involved and the budget (25% of the total budget corresponds to seven Catalan partner entities). Also involved, aside from the SMC and the OCCC, are CREAF, the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia-BarcelonaTech and the Ebro Observatory.

A territory resilient to the effects of climate change in the year 2050

The Pyrenees is a mountain bioregion particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Mountain areas are generally places with a wide variety of ecosystems and where the average annual temperature is rising faster than the global average. Climate change has serious impacts on biophysical and socio-economic systems such as flora, fauna, water resources, energy, tourism and agro-pastoralism. Aware of this fact, seven territorial climate change policies coexist in the Pyrenees, corresponding to the seven territories that are present there (Euskadi, Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, Andorra, Occitania and New Aquitaine), but most of these policies do not take into account two differential characteristics: the mountainous nature of the territory and the cross-border approach.

The Pyrenean Climate Change Strategy and its Operational Plan 2030 focus on cross-border action for adapting to climate change, also integrating some mitigation actions. It has a systemic approach focusing on five systems: Climate, Resilient Natural Spaces, Population and Territory, Adapted Mountain Economy and Governance, and defines 72 specific actions to be implemented, all aimed at making the Pyrenees resilient to the effects of climate change by 2050.

Meteocat, co-leader of the Pyrenees climate analysis working group

Following the idea that the different working groups of the PYRENEES4CLIMA project should be led in north-south tandems, the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (SMC/Meteocat) will co-lead, together with MétéoFrance, the working group analysing the climate of the Pyrenees. The general objective of this working group is to provide reliable and high-quality data and information to reduce the uncertainty, typical of spatial and temporal variability, both of the evolution of the climate observed in recent decades in the Pyrenees and of the evolution projected for the 21st century.

To achieve this overall objective, work will focus on four main tasks:

Extend the spatial and temporal coverage of the Pyrenees climate database, including new variables and different temporal resolutions, so that a better assessment of the observed climate can be made.

Generate high-resolution climate projections in the Pyrenees, reducing the uncertainty of the results and providing information on new variables.

Provide the evolution of climate indices (observed in the past and projected into the future) useful for the main socio-economic sectors in the Pyrenees, as a tool for the design of a more efficient response to climate change.

Develop a climate services platform to monitor, in real or near-real time, some of the climate risks that an area such as the Pyrenees will have to face in the medium term: droughts and heat waves.

The partners participating in this working group are: Meteorological Service of Catalonia, MétéoFrance, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC, Naturklima and OPCC-CTP, plus a set of associated partners (they participate in the project and monitor it, but do not receive a direct subsidy from the project): the National Meteorological Service of Andorra, Andorra Research and Innovation, the Spanish Meteorological Agency and the University of Zaragoza. Meteocat will receive €276,381 of European funds, 60% of the total cost of its dedication to the project.