Publications Adaptation

No adaptation without operational requirements and human resources

Increasingly frequent heat waves, long droughts, coastal erosion and changing flood risks are all impacts of climate change that will be problematic for the French economy and society. How detrimental this impact will be, will largely depend on what we have anticipated. If we organise ourselves well, we will be able to ensure we make the best decisions for a collective management of risks, development and economic choices, better suited to changing climates. However, regardless of whether we choose to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of populations, facilities and activities upstream or accept an increased share of risk, we must be prepared. 


This publication is only available in French


Today we are not ready. There is a French national strategy for adaptation to climate change and a National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC2). However, having plans is of course not enough to guarantee the effectiveness and even less the efficiency of an adaptation policy. What this Climate Brief emphasises is that, as obvious as it may seem, if we want to rise to this challenge, we must also give ourselves the means to make these documents operational and to implement this policy. There are 2 prerequisites for this: 


  • The various government departments must be able to justify how each public policy concerned contributes to reducing the country’s vulnerability. These policies are clearly identified in the PNACC2 and include environmental, agricultural, economic and international policies, as policies. Analysis of the environmental assessment of the State budget, as well as a review of the climate action plans submitted by the various ministries clearly demonstrate that this has not yet been accomplished. 
  • The first prerequisite is to demand that organisations in a position to implement adaptation report and be held accountable for the way in which they integrate the subject into each of their projects and each of their long-term decisions. This seems essential when public money is mobilised. 


Public project owners or infrastructure managers, for example in the transport sector, must also be able to demonstrate how they are integrating climate change into their investments. It is necessary to check for example, how each new school-building effectively takes into account summer comfort of students to ensure that the next generation of schoolchildren can continue to attend classes in May and June in complete safety. 


The second prerequisite is to mobilise the resources, especially human resources, necessary at both the national and sub-national levels, to lead and monitor the adaptation. Adaptation is first and foremost a matter of smart-design and it must consider the realities at a local level. It requires communication, coordination and the ability to be able to take into account what scientists teach us when designing public policies or development projects. This Climate Brief highlights the need to:


  • Strengthen the human resources available to the State’s departments and operators concerned with adaptation in order to address this issue;
  • Provide visibility on the resources available to those responsible for sub-national adaptation dynamics in order to operate in the long term;
  • Guarantee that the engineering offer to local authorities includes adaptation;
  • Accompany the demands made of infrastructure managers and public operators with a dedicated budget and/or financing facilities so that they can conduct the necessary analyses and set up adaptation management processes. 


Once these two prerequisites have been met, we can begin to put the various adaptation options on the table, compare their costs and discuss, collectively, the level of risk we are willing to accept and the most desirable responses. Then we can begin to talk seriously about the associated investment needs.


No adaptation without operational requirements and human resources Download
I4CE Contacts
Senior Research Fellow – Adaptation and Local authorities Email
Morgane NICOL
Morgane NICOL
Local authorities Programme director – Local authorities, Adaptation, Public finance Email
To learn more
  • 09/29/2023 Foreword of the week
    Adaptation: plotting pathways is the next essential step

    As stated by the European Commission there is a “lack of preparedness and [a] disproportion between the climate threats and response mechanisms and structures in place”. One of the key factors in speeding up the implementation of adaptation actions will be the definition, in particular by public authorities, of « clear adaptation pathways setting up the process of how to achieve them through the sequence of options and actions ». The cost of these trajectories will also need to be quantified, to ensure that the human and financial resources are available for implementation.  For the time being, this work of defining adaptation trajectories is generally lacking, whatever the sector or scale. And the means to be deployed for adaptation are therefore unknown.

  • 07/06/2023 Blog post
    Adaptation: putting the reference trajectory into law

    The French decision to define a reference warming trajectory for adaptation to climate change (TRACC) is good news. There is an urgent need for public and private actors to examine the resilience of their investments and activities in a changing climate, including if the target of limiting global warming to below +2°C – a target that must remain a priority – is not met. Going beyond its inclusion in the PNACC (French national climate change adaptation plan) will nevertheless be essential to ensure actors rapidly take up this trajectory and to prevent a single euro more being spent on assets that are not adapted to climate change. The cross-cutting and normative scope of the TRACC now needs to be guaranteed by making it an inter-ministerial issue and putting it into legislation, then progressively tailoring the implementation requirements to the different actors and sectors concerned.

  • 03/24/2023 Foreword of the week
    International Day of Forests: carbon certification, adaptation and carbon sink

    This week, for the International Day of Forests, I4CE offers you an overview of the forestry issues that are being debated in France and in Brussels. In our newsletter, you will discover a new blog post by Julia Grimault on European carbon certification and our latest analyses on the adaptation of French forests to climate change, the French carbon sink and the wood industry. 

See all publications
Press contact Amélie FRITZ Head of Communication and press relations Email
Subscribe to our mailing list :
I register !
Subscribe to our newsletter
Once a week, receive all the information on climate economics
I register !