On 24 February, the European Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, setting out the pathway to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Green roofs and walls feature prominently in the strategy, which fully recognises their multiple benefits for climate adaptation.
“Blue-green (as opposed to grey) infrastructures are multipurpose, ‘no regret’ solutions and simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build climate resilience”, it is stated in the document, which adds “Europe needs to leverage more investments in nature-based solutions to generate gains for adaptation, mitigation, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, and health”.
The strategy mentions the deployment of nature-based solutions for adaptation among the Commission’s priorities to make adaptation actions “systemic” across the Union, together with integrating adaptation into macro-fiscal policy and local adaptation action.
Moreover, the Commission called for strengthened action to “prepare Europe’s building stock to withstand the impacts of climate change”, highlighting that green roofs and walls are key to make sure that “buildings can also contribute to large-scale adaptation, for example through local water retention that reduces the urban heat island effect.”
The Commission announced it will support the integration of climate resilience considerations into the criteria applicable to construction and renovation of buildings and critical infrastructure.
“The Commission’s recognition of the benefits of green roofs and walls to help make Europe resilient to climate change is excellent news for citizens and the environment. We very much welcome this approach and we hope this will serve as inspiration to governments and local administrations around the world. Green roofs and walls can greatly support climate adaptation efforts and as WGIN we are ready to do our part,” said Prof. Manfred Koehler, President of the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN).
The EU Chapter of the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) aims to increase the awareness of European Union policymakers about the multiple benefits of green infrastructure, with a specific focus on Building Integrated Vegetative Systems (green roofs and living walls).
WGIN brings together national and regional industry associations to promote the development of the green infrastructure industry through training, research, advocacy for new policy, conferences, publications, and promotion.