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A panEuropean framework for strengthening Critical Infrastructure resilience to climate change

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EU-CIRCLE (A panEuropean framework for strengthening Critical Infrastructure resilience to climate change)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-09-30

EU-CIRCLE managed to effectively involve the CI community for the different case studies. The case studies were implemented in a participatory approach, where CI operators, national / regional and local authorities and emergency responders were engaged into designing the specific scenarios, providing accurate data, contribute to assessing the potential impacts and generating damage assessments due to climate change, proposing and contributing to adaptation options customised to their needs, and then discussing results and participating in project events. The involvement made CI stakeholders more conscious about the potential impacts of climate change on CI and thus many of them were willing to use the project’s results and methodology to manage their exposure to hazards. Furthermore, the project generated guidelines on how to introduce climate change in the business continuity model of a CI, expanding related ISO standards.
There was considerable interaction with CI stakeholders throughout the 2nd reporting period of the project. Interaction with the CI and climatology stakeholders was an important element in producing meaningful and usable results that could be further exploited by the consortium. There was exchange of opinion on numerous events on climate change impacts to CIs, the methodological framework of the project and to familiarize end users with the approach adopted by the consortium for assessing climate change related risks to essential services as well as for considering resilience concepts and indicators within the operators planning process.
Additionally, EU-CIRCLE identified the following 4 point summary of how climate change may impact the interconnected critical infrastructures.
1. Climate change will have significant effects on the nature and characteristics of the hazards. The change of the hazards’ frequency of appearance, magnitude, intensity, speed of event should be exhaustively studied when studying the impact of climate change. Faster hazards will require new capabilities to anticipate, such as early warning systems and different concept of preparedness and also faster coping. More intense hazards could lead to higher vulnerabilities and potential total damages to the operating capacity of CI.
2. Think “out of the box” when considering which hazards could be of relevance to climate change risk assessment. The use of synthetic hazards to stress-test CI capacities is highly recommended, as global / regional climate models are not yet capable of capture several high-end phenomena (e.g. tornadoes, waterspouts, lightning) which are subscale to existing Global and Regional Climate Models
3. Climate change may require considerable re-design or enhancement of the CI assets. It is recommended to perform assessment of CI based on micro-scale climate characteristics rather than relying on large scale simulation. Work on identifying new indicators related to the specific characteristics of CI, even on a local scale, should be actively pursued in the context of climate services.
4. CI based vulnerability should be made accounting for 1) physical/structural damages due to extreme events, 2) how affected humans will be impacted CI, 3) how the operations of CI could be impacted, including changes to supply and demand profiles.
5. It is worth remembering that climate change is not only about negative impacts, but rather one of the many challenges that CI must address when preparing for their future lifespan.
EU-CIRCLE project’s key recommendation is that Resilience based Adaptation could provide a sustainable modus operandi linking CCA and DRR and also sustainable development goals.
EU-CIRCLE’s builds upon a comprehensive, interdisciplinary risk and resilience management framework. Methodologically, it is based on the identification of climate risks (stressors) on individual key assets and moves through the assessment of the consequences of climate change elements to the operability and organizational integrity of the services provided by the CIs, aiming to develop resilience indicators and to identify adequate and efficient adaptation options. In support, the Climate Infrastructure Resilience Platform (CIRP), has been established as an end-to-end modelling environment where interdisciplinary analyses can cooperate towards understanding interdependencies, validate results, and present findings in a unified way.
At the center of this approach is the notion of “service flow continuum” , where the resilience of CI is linked to how they can better understand the evolving nature of hazards due to climate change and implement early warning systems (anticipatory capacity), be exposed to lower levels of risk or reduce their climate vulnerabilities (absorbing capacity), being able to respond faster and collaborate more efficiently with other CI and emergency responders (coping capacity) and return to normality and full operational levels (restoration capacity). Finally, the adaptation capacity of the CI is equally important and thus a policy shift towards resilience based adaptation is proposed. The resilience framework in this report also provides an outline of how business continuity can be considered especially through the preventative measures and adaptation options being considered in the model.
EU-CIRCLE has been tested in five different case studies across Europe and internationally. The case studies were conducted, or more accurately, co-created with an impressive group of stakeholders (CI operators, local and national authorities and emergency responders) that participated from the design to the evaluation and the dissemination to a wider audience. They helped in establishing policy questions reflecting real needs with immediate impact on decision making process and also provided actual and reliable data to support them. The selected case studies have been designed to address climate hazards that are considered to be of high importance to the EU and cover all types of CI.
EU-CIRCLE had a multi-dimensional impact that is summarised below:
Protecting CI & societies from adverse climate change impacts. CI have a critical role in maintaining smooth societal functioning and contribute healthy cities, energy poverty and the wellbeing of the population. Furthermore, resilient CI that are able to resist and/or quickly recover from climate hazards are critical components of emergency management and thus their availability is a matter of societal resiliency.
Promoting policy shifts to resilience based adaptation, that combines multiple International initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement elements related to Climate Change Adaptation.
The EU-CIRCLE resilience framework has been proposed as a versatile approach, that can be adapted and implemented at different levels, from the single CI asset, to the CI network and the network of networks within a city / region.
Establish and implement a unique exploitation model that the project’s tools, data and solutions could be presented to potential customers. Through use of the commercial portal, interested parties are able to search for available products and services or to express specific needs that other users could provide if interested.
EU-CIRCLE in a nutshell