These days, everybody has heard about the changes observed in the climate, global warming and its potential consequences for both human activities and the environment. The effects of climate change are not all predictable in detail. Therefore, there is a need to think in terms of resilience and deal with uncertainties, especially in policy making processes.

Climate change is due to higher concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere. For this reason, emissions mitigation measures are needed. The major impacts of climate change, besides global warming, are sea-level rise and increasing extreme weather events (e.g. heat waves, heavy rainfalls, flash floods, and storms). This means that also adaptation actions have to be taken.

With the BalticClimate toolkit, you, as policy makers, have the possibility (and even the responsibility) to take a stepwise approach in dealing with climate change. The first step is to prepare the ground for your future decisions. Recognizing the problem and getting familiar with climate change and its impacts will lead you to identify both the sustainable development challenges and opportunities ahead for your region, town or municipality.

Performing a vulnerability assessment for your area is the second step to identifying the impacts, challenges and opportunities caused by climate change for your specific surrounding region. Involvement of as many sectors (e.g. transport, energy, housing, and agriculture) as possible is required to identify synergies and conflicts between them.

In the third step, the strategic direction is essentially set by you, as a policy maker, but also influenced by other decision makers. Be aware – local business and energy interests are strongly affected by the way you handle the climate change issue.

Completing the stepwise process means concluding an agreement or developing an action plan. Consequently the implementation phase can start. During this fourth step, an associated monitoring and process evaluation is fundamental to achieving the objectives and reviewing and improving the process.

Climate change can have both negative and positive effects on your region, town or municipality. The BalticClimate toolkit, therefore, covers both. The challenges and the opportunities are emphasized throughout this process-oriented pathfinder.

The box on the right provides you with a presentation template for introducing
climate change and the BalticClimate toolkit to policy makers and for identifying
their role in dealing with climate change. The template can be downloaded and
modified according to the users` needs.

Start with Recognizing the problem.