CASCADES: Helping European Societies Address Cascading Climate Risks from outside Europe

land area in Europe the night - maps elements of this image furnished by NASA

Europe is strongly linked to the rest of the world via trade, supply chains, business operations, investments, and as a result of its security, development and diplomatic interests. However, while climate change impacts in Europe are relatively well-studied and most European countries are aware of climate risks within their national territories, there is a lack of understanding about how climate change impacts occurring beyond Europe, as well as the economic and social responses to these impacts, might cascade into Europe. Moreover, it remains unclear how such cascading risks from outside Europe will interact with major existing and future challenges facing European societies, such as energy security, socio-political tensions, rising inequality, conflicts and changing security threats.

This gap is addressed by CASCADES, a project supported by the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020. The main objective of CASCADES is, within four years, to analyse the trade, political and financial channels through which climate change impacts outside Europe might cascade into Europe. The project further supports the design of a coherent European policy framework to address resulting challenges.

CASCADES builds on a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods and expertise from different disciplines to analyse transboundary and cross-sectoral impacts of climate change outside Europe and their implications for European societies. Research in CASCADES is supported by ambitious stakeholder engagement throughout the duration of the project to ensure the coherence, inclusivity, and practical relevance of the project’s findings. A key deliverable of the project will be an online simulation game that provides a safe environment for exploring different risks and solutions.

adelphi’s work within CASCADES focusses on the development, security, and foreign policy implications of climate change outside Europe, their political relevance for the EU, and recommendations on how to address them in a coherent way. An important part of adelphi’s research and stakeholder engagement activities take place in focus regions of European foreign policy such as the Western Sahel and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). adelphi also ensures that relevant development, security, and foreign policy issues are reflected in all cross-sectoral components of the project, including the online simulation game.