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Financing and implementation of adaptation measures to climate change along the Spanish coast

López-Dóriga, U., Jiménez, J.A., Bisaro, A., Hinkel, J.
The Science of the total environment 2020 v.712 pp. 135685
climate change, coasts, funding, hydrologic engineering, planning, Spain
Understanding how we are adapting to climate change in coastal areas is an essential issue in the long-term coastal planning. While most of existing studies focus on mapping the current state of adaptation plans, there is a significant lack of studies on the current implementation of adaptation strategies. This study addresses this challenge by assessing how coastal adaptation is being financed and implemented in Spain. In the absence of a detailed roadmap for implementing the Spanish Strategy for Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change, we have analysed how adaptation has been and is currently being funded; which the rationale for investments along the territory is; how adaptation investments compare to regular coastal protection costs; and assessed when implemented measures are really adaptation ones. Our results show that the financing source clearly conditions the type of measures implemented, with those funded under the Environment Promotion Plan for Climate Change Adaptation (PIMA Adapta initiative) being dominated by classical coastal engineering actions, whereas ecosystem-related actions are mostly funded under the LIFE programme. In territorial terms, the Mediterranean coastal regions present the most important problems under current conditions and attract most of the funding. Most of the funded actions have been designed to solve current coastal problems, and although they indirectly contribute to adaptation by improving the coastal base status, they are not specifically designed for climate change. This misuse of the concept of adaptation measure will tend to the society to be overconfident about adopted actions whereas we are not progressing to real adaptation. To overcome this risk, it is necessary to have a clear roadmap for implementing adaptation measures together a proper financing structure.