Climate change may force vineyards to relocate

‘Adaptation in Europe’ describes policies and measures taken in EU to cope with climate change

Europe’s winemakers may need to relocate their vineyards as a result of climate change, according to a new report. Photograph: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/GettyImages

Europe’s winemakers may need to relocate their vineyards as a result of climate change, according to a new report. Photograph: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/GettyImages

Tue, Apr 30, 2013, 06:00

Europe’s winemakers may not only need to change the grape varieties they cultivate but may need to relocate their vineyards “in some cases” as a result of climate change, according to a new report published by the European Environment Agency.

The Adaptation in Europe report describes policies and measures taken at EU level and by individual member states – including plans to upgrade the Thames Barrier in London “so it can be adjusted depending on the trend in sea level rise”.

Jacqueline McGlade, the agency’s executive director, said adaptation was “about new ways of thinking and dealing with risks and hazards, uncertainty and complexity”, and it was clear that all European countries “still have a lot of work to do”.

An earlier report from the agency showed that climate change is already affecting all regions in Europe, causing a wide range of impacts on society and the environment, and warned that there would be further effects if no action was taken. Although there is a consensus on seeking to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees, the latest report says it will be necessary to prepare for an even hotter world and other changes in climate, such as increases in the incidence of flooding.


Soft measures
The report, released at a conference in Brussels on the EU’s adaptation strategy, recommends a variety of “grey” measures such as engineering projects, “green” ecosystem-based approaches using nature and “soft” measures such as policy changes.

For example, in urban areas on the French Riviera adaptation involves using a combination of green spaces, water bodies and building design to reduce heatwave risks, while Barcelona is adapting to water shortages with a “highly efficient” desalination plant.

One of the largest projects involves restoring the Danube river basin to its natural state. Although it will cost an estimated €183 million, it should help to prevent flooding such as a 2005 event which cost €396 million in damages.