This is a joint policy brief between the PROTECT, CoCliCo and SCORE projects. Each has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement numbers 869304, 101003598 and 101003534.

Key Messages

2 meters of sea-level rise can not be realistically avoided sooner or later. This will fundamentally change European coastal zones in the decades to centuries to come.

Europe and National States can recognize that coastal adaptation is an ongoing process that involves short-term actions, long-term planning and strategic thinking.

Three actions are urgently needed to limit losses, damages and lock-ins:

  1. Massive and immediate reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in order to slow down sea-level rise, limit the amplitude of sea-level rise in the long term, thus giving more time and options for coastal adaptation.
  2. Engagement into adaptation planning for multiple meters of sea-level rise, including preparing for adaptation, identifying challenges and options, implementing and monitoring.
  3. Support to science and climate service development to reduce uncertainties in future sea-level rise, assess risks and associated adaptation options and provide useable information and climate services to coastal adaptation stakeholders

The climate is warming quickly, sea level rise is accelerating and coastal adaptation takes time. The imperative to act now is clear.


This material reflects the sole author’s view and does not represents an official position of their institutes or of the European Commission, which are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Lead authors: Gonéri Le Cozannet (BRGM), Gaël Durand (CNRS), Robert Nicholls (University of East Anglia

Extended drafting team & Figures: Aimée Slangen (NIOZ), Daniel Lincke (GCF), Anne Chapuis (CNRS)

Contributions & Reviews: Adina Creugny, Tamsin Edwards, Elena Marie Enseñado, Salem Gharbia, Heiko Goelzer, Geronimo Gussmann, Marjolijn Haasnoot, Klaus Keller, Emilio Laino, Daniel Lincke, Arjen Luijendijk, Angélique Melet, Luís Campos Rodrigues, Jeremy Rohmer, Paul Sayers, Aimée Slangen, Mar Riera Spiegelhader, Rémi Thiéblemont, Fiona Turner, Roderik Van De Wal

Editing: Gus Williams (Guerilla Creatives), Anne Chapuis (CNRS).

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